In football it is my assumption that any players on the same team can exchange their positions without waiting for the ball to leave play or without making any explicit indication to the other team.

I would like to know how this applies to the goalkeeper:

  • Can any player assume the role of goalkeeper?

  • Do they need to change clothing with the goalkeeper?

  • Do they need to announce this change to either the referee or the opposing team?

  • Do they need to wait for the ball to leave play?

2 Answers 2


According to Law 3 of FIFA Laws of the game.

Any of the other players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that:

  1. the referee is informed before the change is made
  2. the change is made during a stoppage in the match

I could not find mention of the changing of the jersey, but as per custom, usually the goalie in indicated by wearing a different color.

  • 6
    According to Law 4, the goal keeper must wear colours that distinguish him from other players, the referee and the assistant referees
    – rest_day
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:26
  • 1
    In instances where the goalkeeper is sent off and the team does not have any more substitutions left, an infield player becomes the goalkeeper and he wears the jersey of the sent off keeper inside out to hide the number.
    – Max
    Aug 31, 2012 at 14:04
  • @rest_day is correct, goalie must always wear a jersey with different color from the other players. In addition to the comment by Max, in INDOOR SOCCER, if a team is behind towards the end of the game, they take their goalie and bring a forward in to even up the score (much like ice hockey), but a player has to be wearing the goalie jersey. This strategy is not practiced in outdoor soccer however.
    – alamoot
    May 26, 2014 at 17:36

Law 3, part 4 of the IFAB Laws of the Game is straightforward and covers the first three points directly.

Any of the players may change places with the goalkeeper if:

  • the referee is informed before the change is made

  • the change is made during a stoppage in play

Law 4, part 3 requires that

[e]ach goalkeeper must wear colours that are distinguishable from the other players and the match officials

Thus, the player exchanging positions must remove their previous shirt and replace it with one of a colour that is different from either team and from the officials. This is not just a custom or tradition, but a mandatory aspect of the game.

If the ex-goalkeeper remains a player on the field, they must also change to a shirt matching that of their team.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.