Does USSF have any position on using of the Protective Face Mask by players? I realize that any equipment falls within the referee’s decision as to the safety of the item but I was wondering if this item has been discussed and your thoughts on this matter.
USSF answer (February 27, 2012):
We cannot speak regarding particular brands of masks, but the following information from the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees applies:
A player may use equipment other than the basic equipment provided that its sole purpose is to protect him physically and it poses no danger to him or any other player.
All items of clothing or equipment other than the basic equipment must be inspected by the referee and determined not to be dangerous.
Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material are not considered dangerous and are therefore permitted.
In view of the new technology that has made sports spectacles much safer, both for the wearer and for other players, referees should show tolerance when authorising their use, particularly for younger players.
If an item of clothing or equipment that has been inspected at the start of a match and determined not to be dangerous becomes dangerous or is used in a dangerous manner during the match, its use must no longer be allowed.
The use of radio communication systems between players and/or technical staff is not permitted.
And, as in all cases related to player equipment, the referee has the final say.