Is there any position paper and or guidance for local USSF youth recreation leagues allowing a player (u-10) with only one leg, use uses crutches to play soccer? Some referees, it seams will allow this, others will not.

While not USSF, recently a high school player in Pennsylvania was allowed to play using crutches. 

USSF answer (February 14, 2008):
Beyond the most recent USSF position paper on non-compulsory equipment (appended at the bottom of this answer), we are not aware of any further guidance from individual states or leagues. If a state association allows a child (or adult) to register on a team, knowing that he or she needs crutches, then the position paper applies. The state cannot make the determination based on how the equipment may be used or abused. If it proves to be unsafe for the player and/or others, then the person can be removed from the game. If the person uses the crutches to seek an unfair advantage, then it is dealt with within the Laws of the Game. Your state association may need to put its position in writing and to satisfy themselves that the parents have signed a liability waiver, but other than that, the onus should fall on the teams that place these players on their roster. The referee has the right to determine unsafe equipment, but it must be done in accordance with the position paper.

We cannot use a precedent set in a high school game, as those games are not played under the aegis of the U. S. Soccer Federation nor in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center — Sept. 4, 2003


To: State Referee Administrators
State Youth Referee Administrators
State Directors of Referee Instruction
State Directors of Referee Assessment
National Referee Instructors and Trainers
National Assessors
National Referees

From: Alfred Kleinaitis
Manager of Referee Development and Education

Subject: Players Wearing Non-Compulsory Equipment

Date: September 3, 2003


On August 25, 2003, FIFA issued Circular #863, regarding the legality of players wearing non-compulsory equipment.

FIFA notes that, under the “Powers and Duties” of the referee in Law 5 — The Referee, he or she has the authority to ensure that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of Law 4, which states that a player must not wear anything that is dangerous.

Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks, knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight, padded material are not considered dangerous and are therefore permitted.

FIFA also wishes to strongly endorse the statement on the use of sports spectacles made by the International F.A. Board on March 10, 2001, and subsequently in FIFA Circular #750, dated April 10, 2001. New technology has made sports spectacles much safer, both for the player himself or herself and for other players. This applies particularly to younger players.

Referees are expected to take full account of this fact and it would be considered extremely unusual for a referee to prevent a player taking part in a match because he or she was wearing modern sports spectacles.

Referees are reminded of the following points which can assist in guiding their decisions on this matter:

– Look to the applicable rules of the competition authority.
– Inspect the equipment.
– Focus on the equipment itself – not how it might be improperly used, or whether it actually protects the player.
– Remember that the referee is the final word on whether equipment is dangerous.

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