I couldn't see any football players wearing caps while playing international matches, but I could see some of them wearing large headbands.

What's the rules for Football say about this?

If the football players are not allowed to wear cap means, what is the reason for allowing large head-bands but not head caps?

  • 3
    +1 a good question but i think goalkeeper is an exception as he is allowed to wear a cap
    – NetStarter
    Aug 27 '13 at 7:30
  • Example: Inter's Chivu (an outfield player) typically plays with a medical helmet/skull cap google.se/….
    – posdef
    Aug 27 '13 at 13:43

As per FIFA's "Equipment Regulations", Section 22, only the goalkeeper is permitted to wear a cap.

22.1 All goalkeepers may, irrespective of the prevailing conditions, wear a goalkeeper cap of any Colour. The goalkeeper cap must be produced by the Manufacturer of a Playing Equipment item. The goalkeepers of the same team may wear different goalkeeper caps.

The rule regarding caps was brought in to afford goalkeepers better visibility in sunny conditions, with the cap shading the eyes from the glare of the sun. The rule includes the line "irrespective of the prevailing conditions" so that goalkeepers can also where a cap even if there is no sun. Some goalkeepers will wear a cap in the rain so that their vision is not impaired by rainwater in their eyes.

Regarding headbands (and wristbands), section 24 states:

24.2 The Players may wear a headband or wristbands. Neither the name, or any abbreviation thereof, nor the number of a Player may be displayed on a headband or wristband.

Headbands and wristbands reduce the problem of sweat and rain and remain a personal choice as to whether the player wears them.


On p. 90 of the document @Ste linked to, we read

2.3 Goalkeeper cap and further caps [My emphasis.]

This seems to indicate that caps may be worn by other players as well.

Law 4 stipulates

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. [My emphasis.]


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.

My interpretation would be that a non-goalkeeper is allowed to wear a hat or cap, but that such a hat may not be peaked, because that would serve a purpose beyond protection.

  • I actually interpret that to mean "goalkeeper caps and caps worn by non-playing staff", as there are no explicit provisions for caps for outfield players. Any headwear worn by outfield players will need FIFA approval. Obviously interpretation could mean that I am wrong too!
    – Ste
    Aug 27 '13 at 12:56
  • 1
    @Ste Apparently FIFA has approved patkas, keskis and turbans, but whether they have ruled on beanies, I don't know.
    – user1564
    Aug 27 '13 at 13:56
  • 1
    I'd like to see 20 outfield players in chefs' hats!
    – Ste
    Aug 28 '13 at 9:38

Although headgear is allowed to be worn, it is not advised for anyone other than the goalkeeper. This could be because:

  1. The beak of the cap is hard, a player going for a header could end up hurting the opposing player with it, thus making it dangerous to another player and becoming an infringement of Law 4 of FIFA guidelines.
  2. Beanies could end up falling off a player's head and since nothing other than the football should be allowed on the field of play, play might have to be stopped till the beanie is picked up and placed back over the player's head. The law states that the game may not be stopped in case of an infringement. But I have seen referees stop games so that a player can put back his shoe, this would mean that the referee has the last call on such cases.

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