RefSix

Players wearing glasses

Adge

New Member
Level 6 Referee
#1
I was asked to do a minor game (u13's) last Sunday and during prematch inspections etc noticed that there were 3 players wearing everyday glasses, 1 for 1 team and 2 for the other team and 1 was the keeper! I mentioned that these had to come off before KO to which one of the managers added-
"You are the only Ref during the last 2 seasons that has had an issue". He then informs me that "it's ok as the parents are allowing them to play in glasses" and "these people have travelled to play football".
I told him that if the ball was to hit them in the face it would be my responsibility and i was now being a jobsworth etc etc etc according to him. I then showed him where it says it in the laws of the game about "sports glasses" and "if poses a danger to other players or himself".
One player sat the game out and wouldn't take his glasses off-I think they were just trying to make a point at that stage.
So I thought that I would ring the County FA on Monday to see what the stance is from their point of view and this was the reply-


FIFA guidelines say officials should show tolerance when allowing the use of glasses, especially for young footballers.
The guidelines on children and grassroots football state: 'Whilst The FA recommends Polycarbonate lenses we recognise this may be an issue for children playing in grassroots football.
'Therefore, we encourage referees officiating in grassroots youth football to be tolerant over glasses.'
The guidelines go on to say it is the referee who has the final say.

So I put it back to the County FA that if we as referees decide that it is ok for players to wear everyday glasses(according to the above FIFA guidelines) and a player gets a ball in the face that the referee will not be held responsible for this? His reply was that "The referee would be held responsible as he has inspected the players equipment before the game and deemed them safe".

Please everyone take this on board when allowing players to participate when wearing everyday glasses-THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!
 
#5
I don't think the reply from the County was correct to be honest. As a referee, you are not responsible in the sense of the word that means you will be found liable for injury. Football isn't a litigious environment and as a referee I didn't think you could be guilty of endangering the safety of the players.

If the parents of the player allow the child to play in glasses, the responsibility is theirs. Unless I've misunderstood all these years where my responsibility lies?
 

LC

Active Member
Level 6 Referee
#6
If there is a player with glasses confirm with them that they are wearing them at their own risk. Never had a problem
 

HRW

RefChat Addict
#7
I ref in glasses, but then I'm not expecting to heading the ball, or challenging for it where there could be a danger of injury.

Had a few players over the years have sports glasses, but most put in contacts, if they really need some form of vision correction.

For me - youth - nope, sports poly lenses or nada.

I'd rather explain to a cheesed off coach (and then poss the league / CFA) than the parent of a blinded kid, and probably someone in a curly grey wig! £30 ain't worth it!
 
#8
Given I'm not a glasses expert, my RA just told us to ask if the lenses are plastic. If so, then the lenses are safe, so it's just a question of whether the glasses themselves have obvious, clear protrusions or sharp edges. We were happy with that approach.
 

bloovee

RefChat Addict
#9
Volenti non fit injuria (I willingly take the risk of injury) is the basic defence in sports claims against an opponent. (Injury caused by violent conduct - e.g. Keane on Haaland, with malice aforethought - could still give rise to a claim.) Negligence would have to be proved against the referee and that would be hard to prove if the parents themselves gave consent for their child to play in glasses.

But then, you don't need to be wearing glasses to suffer an eye injury - American sites suggest all kids should wear protective eyewear for sport. http://www.allaboutvision.com/sports/protection.htm
 
#10
I think everyone should appraise themselves with the good book, Law 5.

A referee (or where applicable, an assistant referee or fourth official) is not held liable for:

  • any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator
  • any damage to property of any kind
  • any other loss suffered by any individual, club, company, association or other body, which is due or which may be due to any decision that he may take under the terms of the Laws of the Game or in respect of the normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match.
Such decisions may include:
a decision to allow or not to allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment
 

bloovee

RefChat Addict
#11
I doubt that has any real legal effect, except to emphasise the "Volenti non fit injuria" principle. It's like me writing myself a code of conduct for my business that says neither I nor my employee is liable for any problem caused by my business. You can't escape a negligence claim just by saying you're not liable for any negligence.

In a case of an inexperienced prop forward being seriously injured in a scrum, the court held:

A referee and player have sufficient proximity, it was foreseeable that if the referee did not enforce the rules there would be injury (that is what the rules are there to prevent).
It was just, fair and reasonable to impose a duty of care. There was a structured relationship, the referees acts or omissions were manifestly capable of causing physical harm to others, and in such circumstances the law will normally impose a duty of care.

A referee of a game of rugby football owes a duty of care to the players. The court did not consider it logical to draw a distinction between amateur and professional rugby.

The referee had breached that duty of care, the referee had been in a position no more than basic skill and competence at that level of the game.



Full judgement: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2003/318.html

Whether that has any relevance to the wearing glasses question I know not, or whether there could be equivalent safety concerns in association football. If you allowed two or three jump tackles without appropriate action, and the players were complaining about the risk to their safety, and a player then was injured by another jump tackle, I doubt whether, like the injured player, you'd have a leg to stand on.
 
#12
Ok, but none of that is relevant given that the laws in rugby actually contain a reference to the referee ensuring safety of players (and in the exact scenario that referee declined to enforce). If said player had lost an eye during the scrum or had his leg broken he would have no grounds to sue as it was not foreseeable.

Here we are talking about players (or parents) making a conscious choice that is allowable within the LOTG. My understanding from my training and references to previous cases suggests that a football referee is not liable under any circumstances, instead it the responsibility of the club and the players themselves.
 
#13
I think everyone should appraise themselves with the good book, Law 5.

A referee (or where applicable, an assistant referee or fourth official) is not held liable for:

  • any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator
  • any damage to property of any kind
  • any other loss suffered by any individual, club, company, association or other body, which is due or which may be due to any decision that he may take under the terms of the Laws of the Game or in respect of the normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match.
Such decisions may include:
a decision to allow or not to allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment
How much do you think the rules of a game would have in a court of law? I think you're a bit naive if you think that's going to give you iron clad protection.
 

OIREF!

RefChat Addict
#14
In my area competitive, 11 a side football with appointed referees starts with the U13 age group. The wearing of everyday glasses from this age and onwards is a complete no-no. It's either sports glasses or nothing. This is well understood by the local leagues and teams. In 15 years refereeing I've never had anyone request to play in everyday glasses.
 

pankaye

Well-Known Member
#16
I don't think the reply from the County was correct to be honest. As a referee, you are not responsible in the sense of the word that means you will be found liable for injury. Football isn't a litigious environment and as a referee I didn't think you could be guilty of endangering the safety of the players.

If the parents of the player allow the child to play in glasses, the responsibility is theirs. Unless I've misunderstood all these years where my responsibility lies?
If it hurts the wearer then its their/parents responsibility if it hurts anyone else it is the refs Am i right in thinking that way?
 

ASM

Moderator
Staff member
#17
Nope, sadly not. First line of Law 4 says "
A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)." And we are responsible for ensuring player's equipment meets the requirements of Law 4 so therefore the buck stops with us.
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
#18
Nope, sadly not. First line of Law 4 says "
A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)." And we are responsible for ensuring player's equipment meets the requirements of Law 4 so therefore the buck stops with us.
....seems the correct answer to me. :)

Irrespective of whether or not the FA states you to be "liable" in the event of an injury, your "culpability" should any kid be seriously injured would surely be decided via the means of a prosecution against you personally by the kid's parents (?). That being the case, in this day and age where everything seems to revolve around "safety" and "duty of care" I would expect any law suite to be able to prove you "responsible" for any injury of this nature, simply by showing that you were empowered with the decision to refuse the kid to allow to play with the glasses on. :) I'm no expert in these matters, but it's not a risk I'd be prepared to take. You'd only have to be wrong once..... :oops:
 
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