Law-making IFAB bans players displaying any slogans

Sat Mar 1, 2014 8:33am EST
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - Players will no longer be able to raise their shirts and reveal a slogan or message on an undergarment even if it is one of solidarity following a decision by soccer's rule-making body on Saturday.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) also sanctioned the official use of headwear for women, after a two-year trial period, as well as for men.

Overt slogans have long been banned by FIFA, world soccer's governing authority, but players often lift up their shirts after scoring to show other messages like birthday greetings or a message for the birth of a baby.

"From now on there can be no slogan or image whatsoever on undergarments even good-natured ones. This will apply from June 1 and will be in force for the World Cup," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a news conference after an IFAB meeting.

Although many slogans that players display are of solidarity, Valcke said it had been decided to impose a blanket ban to avoid confusion.

"It's easier to say no," he said. "Sometimes, we are criticized for saying no but what is the definition of a nice message?"

Board member Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, said it would be too complicated for match officials to determine what is a political or commercial message rather than one of solidarity.

"Some of this did think this might appear churlish but to determine what is right and wrong between different countries and cultures is very complicated, so it's easier to say it's got no place in the game." he said.   Continued...