All players and referees should be aware that the Football Association are placing increasing emphasis on ensuring the safety of players' equipment - particularly footwear and jewellery. However, the laws of the game are clear that "A referee is not held liable for any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator... This may include a decision to allow or not allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment". However, Law 4 also states that "A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player including any kind of jewellery."
From this season, the Football Association are instructing referees to carry out checks of equipment (footwear and jewellery) before games for all players.
Studs and Blades - Poorly maintained studs or blades on the sole of the boot can constitute a danger. The Football Association advice to officials is that "When inspecting footwear, officials are to be alert to the possibility of the edge of the blades or studs developing rough areas on either the plastic or metal used in their construction. These burrs can become very sharp and have been the cause of lacerations on opponents. If match officials are concerned over the condition of the blades or studs, they should refuse to sanction their use until they have been made safe."
Bladed Boots - it should be clarified that boots with "bladed style" studs are not banned, but the referee has sole discretion as to whether to allow players to wear any items of equipment which may constitute a danger. In particular players should be aware that boots with "hard blades" may be of concern. There is an increasing concern that injuries may be caused by dangerous studs/blades.
Jewellery - The Football Association has advised that Law 4 of the Laws of the Game has been amended for season 2006-07 and states that "A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)".
There is one exception:- "A player, who can satisfy the referee prior to the game that their plain wedding band is unable to be removed, will be allowed to cover it with tape. (This only applies to a plain wedding band and no other type of jewellery).
Players should be clear that these items are their responsibility - it is not the referee's responsibility to provide tape to cover a wedding ring! Players are expected to ensure their equipment is safe when they step on the field, and the referee is simply there to police this.
Players' Responsibility - Players should be clear that these items are their responsibility. If a referee considers a ring to be dangerous you should not expect the referee to provide tape to cover it! Nor, if your studs are causing concern should the referee be expected to have a file on hand to smooth it. Players are expected to ensure their equipment is safe when they step on the field, and the referee is simply there to police this.