Blog,  Laws Of The Game

What would you decide: kippah celebration

Remarkable situation in last week’s Champions League qualifiers: Itay Schechter, striker of Israelian team Hapoel Tel Aviv, got a yellow card after he put a kippah on his head and started praying.

Watch the goal and the celebration first:

This is what the Fifa Laws Of The Game 2010/2011 mention about religious signs: “Players must not reveal undergarments showing slogans or advertising. The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements.”

I e-mailed UEFA, this is was their initial response: “In his (Pedro Proença was referee of the match Salzburg – Hapoel Tel Aviv, jan) report the referee of the match mentions that he gave the player a yellow card for “unsporting behaviour”.”

Uefa added this: “The referee’s decision is certainly based on Decision 1, page 20, of the FIFA Laws of the Game.” That’s the text I mentioned above.

Fifa has forbidden to wear headscarves. That’s the reason the Iranian girls team was banned from the Youth Olympics. Maybe that’s why a kippah is not allowed too.

But what about making a cross sign with your hand, I wondered. These days many players do it, even referee Massimo Busacca does. So what are players (not) allowed to do? Uefa reacted: “The referee has interpreted the goal celebration of the player as an unsporting behaviour, which might well not be linked to any religious sign or action.” Does this mean they withdraw their first message?

What would you’ve done? How do you interpret that particular rule in the LATG?


  • Jk

    Ignoring the religious element maybe you could class it as a prop same as the use of masks in a celebration now being outlawed. Also be interested if this player has done this before

  • @YouthSoccerRef

    The section you quote refers to *compulsory* equipment not having religious statement. The kippah is not compulsory equipment so the reference by UEFA to that text does not seem correct. I’d say that UEFA did indeed backtrack with their second response. If the referee called it excessive celebration (unsporting behavior), then OK. I do not see it as excessive nor equivalent to a mask (which covers the face).

    Equivalent to a headscarf or any other headgear (a hat, for example) which is not permitted? Maybe. That would warrant a caution for UB.

    • dutchreferee

      Would like to speak to the referee about it. Just ‘unsporting behavior’ is not clear enough.
      I thought compulsory is just the basic clothing, so according to your reply that’s seems correct.
      If I can get in touch with the ref, I’ll let you know.

  • mmc

    I’m not sure if the yellow is correct or not but I’d be inclined to turn a blind eye regardless! We all know how much of a minefield this religous stuff can be.

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