During a recent adult match, a player from the losing team at the 85th minute after the 7th goal is scored decides to sub. While on the middle of the field, removes his jersey and starts to walk off the field. Should he be cautioned for this behavior? if only a caution can be issued during the celebration of a goal then what is the difference between this player and the celebrating one? Both remove article of their equipment while on the field. Please clarify.

Answer (October 23, 2007):
The reason for the restriction on removing the jersey after the scoring of a goal is that removing the jersey is considered to be excessive celebration and is usually also considered to be an act that is provocative, derisory or inflammatory and thus could cause problems with the opposing team. Unless the referee is CERTAIN that the player who removes his jersey while walking from the field is making a “statement” against the other team, that is not an offense — but see below.

As points to ponder, consider using common sense in these cases. “Excessive celebration” equals playing time lost. In addition, some cultures do no accept displays of body skin; in such a place the referee would take that into consideration when a player removes his jersey while leaving the field. The referee must use common sense.

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