New Member
Level 7 Referee
Hi, would you stop play for a player to do his laces up? I’m assuming not stopping play unless head injury but be helpful to check.
A&H International
I was asked by player but said no. But wasn’t sure on etiquette at lower level (think it’s step 9). My understanding was no stops mid play unless head or serious injury and otherwise stops in between play for other injuries but not to do laces.
As above, you absolutely should never stop active play for a player to do his laces, and them even asking you to do so is ludicrous.
I would, however, hold a relatively neutral restart for it, but this is entirely dependant on circumstances. I certainly wouldn't even hold a restart for it with 2 mins to go and the team with the player who's laces are undone are 1 goal ahead, as you will just get pelters from the opposition. There's no law about holding up a restart for it, but it's not a reason in law to stop active play.
Yeah, the whole point of when you do/don't accept a call of "laces?" is to do whatever keeps the spotlight off you.

Neutral situation where no one will be upset by you stopping the restart for 10 seconds? You'll get more fuss if you deny the shout, so hold the restart and allow it.
Tense game where it comes as part of a pattern of the team trying to slow the game down? You'll wind up the entire opposition team if you allow it, so best just to keep things moving.
But if in the above situation, a defender has dropped to his knee, undone his laces and then shouts for you to delay the restart? Frustrating, but better to stop the restart and let him get back to his feet first. Throw in a clear warning to the player that you won't allow it again, but that's still less controversial than if the player lets a goal in with his laces undone or because he was delayed in getting back to his feet.

It's all risk-reward, and sometimes you're choosing the less-worse of two bad options.
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Only at a restart and then context is everything.

Demand a player gets on and takes a throw-in when his team mate is doing up his laces early in the game and there is no reason for them to be time-wasting and you look too busy and lacking empathy

Stop a team taking a throw-in whilst an opponent does his laces up in the last minute of a game when the opponents are hanging on and you look naive.

Also beware of the player who suddenly finds the need to do his laces up on the way back to his own half after scoring a goal - amazing how many times they come undone then !
Away side winning 0 - 1 last night in a Step 5 game. Away Keeper wants to change his boots on 75 mins as they're causing him pain... allegedly
I allow it and tell Home Bench it took two minutes and time would not be lost
It's a yes to laces in Youth football (in most circumstances) and a no in OA football in all circumstances
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