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Law 4: "The Players' Equipment" (Jersey Sleeves)

See "Jersey Sleeves Rule Suspended" (.pdf) for updated information on this topic.

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.