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What if multiple players take off their shirt to celebrate a goal?

An interesting situation in the Ajax vs AZ u19 game. Ajax was behind constantly and scored the 4-3 in extra time of the game. Due to the victory Ajax is on top of the league table again. Matthijs de Ligt (number 3) scores the winning goal. He takes of his shirt and accepts the yellow card. But the question is: What if multiple players take off their shirt to celebrate a goal? Also two of De Ligt’s teammates took of their shirt.

What if mulitple players take of their shirt as in this Ajax game?

Want to watch a wonderful game? Check the highlights of the mentioned youth game.

Laws of the game in 2015-2016 season

The current Laws of the game state in the section “Celebration of a goal”:

“While it is permissible for a player to demonstrate his joy when a goal has been scored, the celebration must not be excessive. A player must be cautioned if: (…) he removes his shirt or covers his head with his shirt.”

Laws of the game in 2016-2017 season

Also in the updated Laws of the Game under “Celebration of a goal”:

“Players can celebrate when a goal is scored, but the celebration must not be excessive; choreographed celebrations are not encouraged and must not cause excessive time-wasting. A player must be cautioned for: (…) removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt.”

What does this mean if multiple players take off their shirt?

In both versions of the Laws of the Game the wording says “a goal has been scored”. So it doesn’t say that the one who takes off his shirt and deserves a yellow has to be the one who scored the goal. It only mentions two facts: (1) a goal has been scored and (2) someone has taken off his shirt to celebrate a goal.

According to the letter of the law you can give three players a yellow card.

What would you decide? Please share it in the comments.

PS: I would love to hear from David Elleray, who has made “probably the most comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game in it’s history“, what his thoughts are on this matter.


  • milovan milacic

    I heard what David Elleray said about this situation. I WAS ON CORE 2014 and we have training practice on the pitch with players who did that. Multiple players take off their shirt. Decision ? David said , one yellow is enough. That not that big offense or unsporting behavior which demand so drastic measures. 3 or 4 yellow cards are too much for this offence

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