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Question Number: 31964

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 10/30/2017

RE: Adult

Muhammad Rizwan of Abbottabad, Abbottabad Pakistan asks...

Sir, I just want to confirm that here in a match a referee show the yellow card to a player who dont have any shinguard after match was start only 5 mins. But in my opinion that it was a wrong decision because when teams were entering into the grounds referee and AR should check their all equipment and if during the match a player remove his shinguard then he should be penalized.? What you say?

thanks in Advance..

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Muhammad,
Referees are required to ensure players are wearing the correct equipment. But it is still the responsibility of the players to do the right thing. Referees may miss the fact that a player is not wearing shinpads - the player may not have been present during the inspection either.
Often players may still be putting their equipment on when the inspection occurs.

The laws don't state either way whether a caution should be issued here. If the referee considers it a serious breach of the laws he certainly has the right to issue a caution.

In my local area, we consider this a mandatory caution - but that's a local directive, not the Laws.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Muhammad,
if referee notices the player is NOT wearing the MANDITORY equipment he can simply order him off the FOP to replace or fix said equipment. He does not necessarily HAVE to stop play or award a free kick or caution if the player acquiesces and does so immediately. Given it is mandatory to have shin guards and these were not lost during play, just never put on, the referee certainly COULD chose to caution to make a point he was deceived.. Or if the referee was to not caution initially he certainly would if the player ignores or stays on the field or re enters without doing so & without permission. .
Now at the start of a match when we do inspections we generally do not line up players look them in the eye to see if their picture looks like them and then kick them in the shins to ensure they are wearing a shin guard.
Aside from the fact not wearing shin guards in a contact sport where studded boots are used to tackle is a stupid option, the safety aspect is crucial. I have had players using tapped magazines as a last resort because they lost or did not have shin guards as well as try to wear shin guards that were too small for an 8 year old never mind a full grown man. They all argue they will accept the risk but I said no, they get extremely mad then I tell them to shut their pie hole indicating that in my kit bag I have several sets of extra shin guards they can choose from if they wish to borrow a set but they are NOT to play unless they find proper shin guards. They find it hard to stay mad after that lol

In the few instances of no shin guards OR in my opinion not proper shin guards I remove the player during active play, ensure he has fixed the problem and then wave them back during active play. I have never cautioned for this that I can recall as the player in question always fixed the problem and his team played short while he did so I did not permit a substitution.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Muhammad
A referee is given discretion here how to deal with it and most would instruct the player to leave to correct the equipment and then can only re-enter at a stoppage in play so that the correction can be checked.
Now I know one referee who gives clear verbal instructions of shin pads, no jewelry before kick off, does his equipment check and if a player has not complied he cautions for it. That is covered in Law 4 which states that a player who refuses to comply or wears an item again must be cautioned.
Personally I do not agree with his caution as his instruction is a blanket one not an individual instruction yet it can be argued that the player willfully ignored the instruction. If a player has said he will correct the equipment before kick off and then ignores the referees instruction then he runs a high risk of sanction.
The Laws state that the player is asked to leave to correct the equipment.It also states that play must not be stopped which suggests no caution.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Perhaps the referee told captains to be sure their teams were properly equipped. And then the captains failed to follow up.

In youth games we line players up, sometimes have to check passes or verify rosters, and have them demonstrate they are wearing equipment. (Although my daughter forgot her shinguards one game, and kicked her shins with her heels anyway, as the other players were doing.)

But adults need to take some responsibility for their equipment and actions. While a caution is somewhat harsh, perhaps the ref was fed up with players trying to pull one over on him one too many times.

The referee is not required to stop play for illegal equipment, and if the player is not legal by the next stoppage the player must leave the field of play to get fixed up. And since the ref will likely need to inspect the equipment, the player can't come in until that can happen - likely at another stoppage.

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