You've heard it before 'Referee you are wrong.....' and even though it may well be the case. The referee applies the Laws within the ‘spirit’ of the game to help produce fair and safe matches with everyone respecting the match officials and their decisions.


But what about the Referee being wrong in Law?

An incident happened during a game on Saturday which certainly tested the referee's knowledge of the LOAF (Laws of Association Football).


During a stoppage in play the referee asked a player to leave the field to remove their undergarment (Law 4 infringement).  The referee then said to the player you can return at the next stoppage in play.

In most cases this would pass without incident but Sod’s Law prevailed and the ball stayed in play for about 5 mins. The team down to 10 men were enraged and pleading for their player to be given permission to return. Eventually the team decided to kick the ball out of play for the referee to check the player’s equipment and allow him to return.


The incident certainly raised the temperature of the game and caused a lot of irritation and distress. During the half time break the referee double-checked the LOAF to find that he was wrong and at the same time right. Here's the wording from Law 4


Offences and sanctions

For any offence play need not be stopped and the player

• is instructed by the referee to leave the field of play to correct the equipment

• leaves when play stops, unless the equipment has already been corrected

A player who leaves the field of play to correct or change equipment must:

• have the equipment checked by a match official before being allowed to re-enter

• only re-enter with the referee’s permission (which may be given during play)


So as you can see the referee could have checked the equipment during play and allow the player on or wait until a stoppage. The rest of the game past without any further incident and the players on the day certainly learnt a valuable lesson.... Sort your kit out before you play!