LOTG: Law 4–The Players’ Equipment


Law 4: The Players Equipment

Other than “Checking the Players In” before the game and making sure that everyone is wearing the “compulsory equipment” which consists of: Shirt, Shorts, Socks, Shin Guards, and Shoes, the most important thing to take care of as a referee when it comes to Law 4 is that all of the “equipment” worn by the players is safe.

(The same is true in Law 2: The Ball—where the most important thing as a referee [besides using the correct-size ball] is to make sure that the ball is safe.)


“Safe” Players’ Equipment means:

  • shoes are safe, no rough-edged cleats
  • shin guards are completely covered by the socks, not exposed in any way
  • if using tape to keep socks/shinguards stable it must be the same color of the sock
  • no jewelry
  • no earrings
  • no taped-over earing studs
  • no friendship bracelets (yes, those little rubber thingies)
  • no hard-brimmed hats (baseball-style firm brim)


A Few Points per the Letter of Law 4:

  • Goalkeepers can wear long-legged tracksuit bottoms
  • If Player loses a shoe, or a shin guard falls off, that player may continue to play the ball but it must be replaced by the time the ball next goes OOP. If he/she scores a goal during this segment of play, it is allowed!
  • Colors: the two teams need different colors (In Region 20 AYSO, if colors are similar it is the Home Team’s responsibility to switch or wear “pinnies.”)
  • Goalkeepers must wear a jersey that distinguishes them from their teammates (different color)
  • Goalkeepers on opposing teams may have the same color jerseys
  • Undershirts/undershorts must be same color of jersey/shorts; players on same team must wear same color undergarments
  • “Other Equipment” that is non dangerous (protective equipment) is ok if soft, lightweight, padded: including knee braces, ankle braces, etc
  • No casts, no splints (meaning an item designed to keep a segment of the body immobilized)
  • Head-covers/face-protectors are ok for players/goalkeepers, if safe
  • No electronic communication
  • No slogans, statements, images, advertising on undergarments that may be revealed



If the referee first notices (during the course of play) that a player has not followed the letter of Law 4:

  • In this case play need not be stopped
  • Player is instructed to leave FOP and correct the equipment issue
  • Player can leave then or wait until play stops
  • Before coming back onto the FOP the equipment issue must be checked that it has been corrected (this can be done by an AR) before that player is allowed to re-enter.
  • Player must have the CR’s permission to re-enter the FOP, which can be given while ball is in play

If a player is refusing to comply with the letter of the Law or returns to the field of play wearing something the referee had him/her to remove earlier in the game, the referee must Caution the player (“Unsporting Behavior”).

If a player re-enters the FOP (after correcting an equipment issue) without the referee’s permission?

  • Ref must stop play if/when that player interferes with play/match official/the ball
  • Ref may allow play to continue if player does not interfere with play (and Caution the player when ball next goes out of play?)
  • Player is “Cautioned” for “Re-Entering w/o Perm”
  • Restart with an DFK “from the position of interference” if referee stopped play upon the player interfering; or IFK from where ball was if play was stopped by the referee and there was no interference. See Law 3.