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Question Number: 32866

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 11/5/2018

RE: rec Under 15

scott spivey of Ozark, AL use asks...

steel cleats are not allowed in 14u and ref does a equipment check before game but one of my players was cleated and when investigated the opposing team player was wearing steel cleats he was asked to go change them can he return to play.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
The first point is that steel cleats are no more dangerous than the regular hard plastic variation. FIFA the governing body was asked a number of years ago by the English FA regarding the safety of the so called metal *blade* studs and they opined that they were safe for play and made no direction on their use other than to ensure that they were not damaged through incorrect use.
Some Leagues have decided to introduce local competition rules on cleat use and indeed some artificial surface facilities do not allow *hard* cleats due to potential damage to the playing surface. That is a matter for the local competition organisers / locations to decide on.
Now in this instance a player got injured in a challenge. That unfortunately happens. The referee became aware that the opponent was wearing metal cleats contrary to the local equipment rule so he asked the player to conform to the local rule of competition by leaving the field of play in order to continue to play. Under the Laws of the Game there is no card sanction. Some referees take exception to breaches of the equipment rule and caution for USB. If the challenge merited a card in its own right then that is what the referee should have done.
Obviously for what ever reason the use of metal studs by that player was not picked up by the referee in the equipment check. That can happen for a variety of reasons including the player not presenting for the check or the check was not thorough enough. It does happen and in the past I have missed jewellery in the pre match inspection and all I could do when I became aware of it was ask the player to leave the field of play to remove the offending jewellery.
With so much going on before kick off it can prove difficult to be on top on everything including equipment. Indeed if a player knowing that his equipment does not meet the requirement can *find ways* to avoid such checks. Referees have to vigilant of that.
Referees do their best to ensure that all equipment meets the requirements of the Law and the local competition rules. Teams and their coaches also have a responsibility to ensure that the rules are followed.
Without the challenge this equipment issue would not have been picked up. It may be appropriate to write to the local competition organisers to ask then to remind teams at U14 and below that metal cleats are not allowed. Everyone including the teams and coaches have a responsibility here including the referees.




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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Scott,
As ref McHugh points out, there is no prohibition in the Laws of the Game on the wearing of metal studs (or cleats) as they are not inherently more dangerous than hard plastic ones. In fact the most lethal studs I ever saw were usually the old nylon studs you used to see back in the day (of a type are not used any more, as far as I can tell). The edges of them were very easily scuffed up by walking on the concrete surfaces that you often found around changing rooms and football pitches, to where you could end up with a sort of serrated edge effect on them that could slice through meat (or a person's leg). Metal studs, being harder, did not scuff up in the same way and would generally remain smoother and safer.

I should just mention that the Laws of the Game place a high value on player safety and the law mandates that a player may not wear anything that is dangerous. No matter what material studs are made of, they should not be worn if dangerous and the referee, as part of the pre-match equipment check, should look for any damage to studs that might make them unsafe. I personally feel, and my experience is that metal studs are not more dangerous than other kinds but if the local rules prohibit them then so be it.

To answer your final point, if a local or competition rule does not allow metal studs to be worn and the referee asks the player to leave to remove the offending footwear, the player is perfectly entitled to return to play after changing them.



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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Scot ,
Really no steel studs ? Most studs are aluminum in nature or nylon or rubber? The studs that needed to banned were baseball cleats not steel studs?? But unless the ROC bylaws give a specific punishment. If a player is told to fix equipment and does so generally they can return to play. Players could receive a caution if they try to deceive a referee but the officials should check the players equipment prior to taking the FOP.
Cheers



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