There was a bit of buzz earlier this week when AC Seattle of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) debuted their first ever jersey. The sleeveless look might be refreshing for the players, but our soccer community wondered, are they following the rules?
goalWA.net got several emails after our story ran, and over the course of a day we learned that indeed FIFA, the governing world-wide body of soccer, has previously stated “All shirts must have sleeves.”
Then they relaxed that stand in 2002: (link)
CHICAGO (Monday, July 1, 2002) – As of July 1, 2002, The Laws of the Game have been amended to include a statement that “Jerseys must have sleeves” (Law 4, International FA Board Decision 1). Several questions have been raised regarding the practical effects of this change in the Law (caused by the appearance in international play of a national team wearing a sleeveless uniform shirt.) In response to the confusion about the intent of the rule change, we have prepared some common sense guidelines for referees to follow.
Intent of the Rule Change
The requirement that “jerseys must have sleeves” is intended to deter player efforts to alter their jersey in any way.
Guidelines for Enforcing this Rule
1.The sleeve must be recognizable as a genuine extension of the armhole of the uniform shirt being worn and able to perform the function of a sleeve commonly accepted in everyday wear.
2.Players may not alter their uniform by cutting off the sleeve or shortening it significantly.
3.Referees are asked to call player attention to these requirements if uniforms are altered, just as they would if shirts were not tucked in or socks not pulled up.
4.Details regarding jerseys which have no sleeves or shortened sleeves should be included in the referee’s match report submitted to the competition authority. However, since this is not a safety issue, a team or an individual player must not be prevented from playing solely for this reason.
5.Finally, as a member of FIFA, we are obliged to follow their rule changes, however, we ask that you use common sense and good judgement on the application of this rule change.
AC Seattle is not taking any chances. They have contacted the league and will also try to talk with the officials assigned to their matches ahead of time to let them know.
“As of this year there are no objections to it in our bylaws,’ WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli told them.
Now it seems the only verdict left is one of style and preference. What’s your take?