Why players with different shirt sponsor are allowed in this case

European football competitions have started their preliminary rounds. During this weeks Champions League round I noticed some weird thing via Twitter. Özcan Akyol tweeted a photo of two Rapid Wien players that wore shirts with differents sponsors in their game against AFC Ajax.

Would you allow a player with a different shirt sponsor?

Different shirt sponsor for two Rapid Wien players

Photo credit: Özcan Akyol on Twitter

The Laws of the Game are not clear on this. Law 4 only states that “a jersey or shirt with sleeves – if undergarments are worn, the colour of the sleeve must be the same main colour as the sleeve of the jersey or shirt”. Plus there’s something mentioned about not wearing political or religious statements – which does not apply in this situation.

Captain Steffen Hofmann has a sponsor deal with Lyoness Group AG and will play with that shirt in Austrian domestic competitions as well. But is that allowed in international games? The Champions League requirements are the following:

“Exceptionally, for all matches in the qualifying phase the domestic kit regulations of the relevant associations apply, provided that the sponsor advertising on the kit complies with Article 32 of the UEFA Kit Regulations and the kit has been approved for and worn in domestic competition matches.”

I’ve never seen this way in other countries, but apparently these shirt sponsor marketing strategy is allowed in Austria. And in the qualifying rounds it’s thus allowed. So that’s why Willie Collum made no mistake in allowing one player to wear a different shirt.

Rules for the group stage

Steffen Hofmann  can’t wear it in the group stage though. Rules state that: “In Uefa competitions, a club may advertise for one single sponsor on the shirt of the playing attire.”

If you want to know if it is allowed in your country, check out the competition regulations.

Do you check all sponsored shirts before the game?

Update: After posting about this I found an article on Sportsnext, a website that found a historical photo of Rapid Wien. You can see the captain (middle of bottom row) was wearing a different shirt even in 2011.

Rapid Wien team photo of 2011 with different shirt sponsor for the captain

Rapid Wien team photo of 2011 with different shirt sponsor for the captain

This have photo may be published under Creative Commons: Wikipedia (CC) Steindy

Rooney in offside position but not interfering with play

Rooney in offside position, so shouldn’t the Manchester United goal not be cancelled? My twitter account @DutchReferee exploded last night when I posted a tweet that Phil Dowd correctly allowed the goal Manchester United goal against Preston North End in the FA Cup. 62 retweets and 17 favorites (and still counting).

In this case study I will explain why the referee has made the right call – based on the Laws of the Game.

Before you read my explanation, check the situation in the video below. If it starts at the beginning, buffer to 2 mins and 48 seconds and click play. Herrera scores and pay close attention to Wayne Rooney close to the goalie.

Explanation of offside situation

First thing to determine: Is Rooney in offside position? Yes, he is. But the Laws of the Game also add to that: “It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.”

Second thing is to determine if Rooney should be penalised for it. Three criteria to determine if Rooney is in active play are:

  1. Is he interfering with play?
  2. This means touching or playing the ball according to Fifa. That’s not the case here. Rooney did not touch the ball.

  3. Is he gaining an advantage by being in that position
  4. You should think of passing/playing a ball after it bounced back from a goalie or goalpost. That’s not the case here, because Herrera shot the ball directly into the net and Rooney did not pass/play it.

  5. Is he interfering with an opponent
  6. The last criterium is most important here. And the most crucial part is the change of the Laws of the Game before the start of the 2014/2015 season. Based on the video we can say Rooney is NOT preventing an opponent from playing, he is not challenging an opponent (no one near him) and he is not blocking the line of vision for the goalie. The goalie can see the ball all the time. Fifa removed the part where offside should be penalised when a player makes a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

If that latter was still in the Laws of the Game, the assistant referee should have flagged for offside. Now Phil Dowd and his team made the right call.

Share your thoughts

Please let me know what you think. Should the offside law be reviewed and what needs to change in your opinion?

I’d prefer a test game where you can’t be in an offside position as a player. Let’s do that and see how it goes. What are your thoughts on that?

Playing without number: what would you do?

A funny moment in the FA Cup clash between Preston North End and Manchester United. Referee Phil Dowd gave a yellow card to Davies, but he was playing without number. Would you allow that?

davies-playing-with-numberDavies playing without number.

Here’s what happened. The player got blood on his shirt and Preston North End probably does not have more than one outfit per player. That’s why he played with a complete white back of his shirt.

The Laws of the Game say that “The basic compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following separate
items: a jersey or shirt with sleeves – if undergarments are worn, the colour of the sleeve must be the same main colour as the sleeve of the jersey or shirt.” Nothing mentioned about a number on the back of the shirt.

It’s probably in the competition rulebook that a number is necessary.

What would you do if a person is playing without number? On pro level it’s easier to recognize a player, but not on amateur level. How would you deal with it?


Numbers are needed in most games I officate. But I sometimes get a game in Category B (lower levels) and players don’t have numbers on their shirts. When I book someone, I would ask for his name, check that with the given names before the match and write that down in the report. That’s something you can do even when other players do have numbers.

Another solution would be to get some tape and give him a number.

Screenshots thanks to @Wallas8810 on Twitter.

IFAB thinks rolling substitutes are good idea

The IFAB meeting in Northern Ireland took place to talk about the Laws of the Game. One of the new things they want is rolling substitutes for grassroots football. That means that kids can go off and back on during the same match. That means everybody can play. It is also a solution for players who have been injured before. Coaches don’t know how they will come back and how long they can play. If pain comes back, the coach can replace him.

May this sub re-enter the pitch soon? IFAB thinks rolling substitutes are good idea for f.e. grassroots football

May this sub re-enter the pitch soon? IFAB thinks rolling substitutes are good idea for f.e. grassroots football

A test with rolling substitutes worked good in the UK and I must say it also works pretty well ono lower levels in The Netherlands.

The IFAB did not make any decisions for changes in the Laws of the Game yet. That will be done in the meeting early next year. Member associations can bring their ideas up the table until the 1st of December.

What else did they talk about? Some points were pointed out by the FA.

  • The new technical panel representing match officials and a football panel made up of experts from across the world. A good way of .
  • There is still no solution for triple punishment (red card, penalty plus a ban) for a player who denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.Uefa referee boss Collina earlier suggested this rule needs to be changed.
  • The IFAB was sceptical about plans to look again at the increased use of video technology. The Dutch FA recently announced they want to do that. They already test with it during matches in the Eredivisie. More about the Dutch experiment.

If must pick one rule you want to change in football, which one would that be? Please share it below.

Strange yellow card from Swedish second division

A strange yellow card givenby referee in the Sweedish football league match between Hammarby IF and Degerfors IF. Jan Gunnar Solli from the hometeam pulls up his shirt just as the ball touches his belly/chest. He pulls the shirt down immediately and catches the ball under his shirt. A funny moment in the last minutes of a 5-0 match. The referee whistles for a foul and books Solli.

Check out the situation. Would you give a yellow card for this as well? I posted my thoughts about the situation below the video.

There are 13 reasons in total on page 119 of Fifa’s rulebook about unsporting behaviour. The Laws of the Game say that referees can give a yellow card for unsporting behaviour under the following conditions: If a player “acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game”. That is one reason from the list which the referee could use to give a player this “strange yellow card”. UPDATE: The other one might be handling. Although I thought of using an object in his hand would be a shinguard for example, but a Facebook fan mentioned that this also could be clothing. (See also comment of larbitre about this below).

For me, this is a player making a joke at the football pitch. He did not prevent the opponent of developing an attack by this action. He prevents a player from playing the ball, yes, so I’d whistle for this as a foul. No card for me in this situation, just a free kick – and a laugh of course 🙂

The back-pass rule: what would you decide?

The back-pass rule in football is sometimes still very difficult for players and even referees. The Laws of the Game say: “An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following four offences: (…) 3. touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate.”

But it’s up to the referee to decide wether it is a deliberate back-pass. This video below (from 5:50 minutes) shows a player who touches the ball before the goalie picks it up. It’s a u21 match between Emmen and Dalen. In a Dutch group for referees someone asked what his colleagues thought about the situation. The reactions varied a lot: from “no doubt, indirect free kick because it’s a deliberate back pass” to “I’d not have whistled for a foul”.

What do you think about this situation concerning the back-pass rule? Deliberate back-pass or not?

PS: Did you notice the referee’s outfit? Then look again. Do you tuck your shirt into your shorts? I’d suggest you to do so, it looks more professional.