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Are Hats or Sunglasses Permitted?

HATS FOR REFEREES OR ASSISTANT REFEREES

Your question:
Are ARs allowed to wear hats while they are working? If they are, are there any specific kinds?

USSF answer (July 31, 2007):
The Federation policy on caps has been consistent since 1999.

USSF answer (April 11, 2007):

5.1 REFEREE UNIFORM

Referees may wear only the gold primary jersey or the black/white-, red/black- or blue-striped alternate jerseys. No other colors will be worn without express permission of the USSF. If the uniform colors worn by a goalkeeper and the referee or by a team (or both teams) and the referee are similar enough to invite confusion, the referee must attempt to have the goalkeeper or the team(s) change to different colors. If there is no way to resolve the color similarity, then the referee (and the assistant referees) must wear the colors that conflict least with the players. Referees and assistant referees must wear the same color jerseys, and all must wear the same length sleeves. The referee uniform does not include a hat, cap, or other head covering, with the exception of religious head covering. Referees must wear the badge of the current registration year.

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The paragraph above does not cover shorts, socks or shoes, but referees who want to get ahead will make every effort to present themselves neatly and professionally. Shorts should be made of the same materials as the jerseys. Shoes must be black and bear as little ornamentation as possible. Referees should dress as conservatively as possible, to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves.

The policy on hats was also published in the October 1999 issue of Fair Play:

Q. May referees wear caps and sunglasses?
A. With regard to caps, the policy of the United States Soccer Federation was stated in the Spring 1994 issue of Fair Play magazine: "Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e.g. early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials' line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain." Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.

Note: This answer comes directly from Jim Allen's USSF Ask a Referee web site.


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