Can you wear a durag in Soccer?

One question that popped up recently while at a soccer game in a discussion between a few of the parents watching their children play was:

Can you wear a durag in Soccer?

No, players in general would not be able to wear a durag while playing Soccer, the reason being that it does not serve any medical or protective purpose, and due to its style it runs the risk of causing injury to other players.#

Dulags cannot be worn while playing soccer

Let's go a little deeper and look into the rules into how they affect durags or other headgear, specifically we will look at Fifa Law 4 which regulates on the use soccer players equipment, and which has the following to say:

Non-dangerous protective equipment, for example headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material is permitted as are goalkeepers' caps and sports spectacles.

Where head covers (excluding goalkeepers' caps) are worn, they must:

  • be black or the same main colour as the shirt (provided that the players of the same team wear the same colour)
  • be in keeping with the professional appearance of the player's equipment
  • not be attached to the shirt
  • not be dangerous to the player wearing it or any other player (e.g. opening/closing mechanism around neck)
  • not have any part(s) extending out from the surface (protuding elements)

That is what the rules from the world governing body of soccer have to say, but as always with any laws or regulations there is an element of them being open to interpretation. So to start, is there any element of the regulation which would allow durags to be worn while playing soccer?

The obvious requirement which would have to be met is that the headgear has to have a protective element to it. On first glance a durag would not meet this requirement, yet it is possible that the purpose of the durag is to stop hair flowing into the eyes. This could be considering a protective element, as with many sports having hair in the eyes from either male or female soccer players could create a danger during the fast pace of play of the game.

So we can wear a durag while playing soccer?

Not so fast. It may be considered protective for the player wearing it, but also dangerous for the other players - specifically a durag (also spelled doo-rag or du-rag) has a trailing element at the back, long ties that are free to fly. As such these could create a risk to other players and is therefore the reason durags are not allowed while playing soccer, and why you will often instead see players wearing regular headbands which fulfil the purpose of restricting hair without extra danger to others.

A quick word on goalkeepers headgear.

You may have noticed in the Fifa rules a specific mention about the headgear that goalkeepers may wear while playing. As is often the case in soccer, goalkeepers are subject to different rules when compared to outfield players.

One of those is the fact that they are allowed to wear goalkeepers caps, which are similar to a regular street cap in that they have a protuding peak at the front. The specific reason they are permitted to wear these is to protect their eyes from the sun, in regards direct damage to their eyes, and also reduce the risk of collision with other players when jumping for balls. (Apart from goalkeepers, caps are not allowed as the hard peak coulkd cause injury to other players).

And what about headgear to protect from concussion?

As with all sports, concussion or other head injury is a serious worry for players and parents alike, and in recent years there has been a massive increase in the purchase and wearing of protective helmets. One of the most famous wearers of these is Peter Cech, who has worn a helment ever since he suffered an injury during a match against Reading back in 2006.

Peter Cech protective soccer headgear

Unfortunately, the use of protective headgear by high school soccer players does not seem to reduce the number or impact of sport-related concussions.

What do you think after reading the rules, should children or indeed adults be allowed to play soccer while wearing a durag? Please leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

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