Olivier Giroud scored the winning goal for AC Milan against Spezia in the last minute of a recent Serie A game. To celebrate a well-earned goal, the French footballer took off his shirt, was booked for the second time, and got a red card. Kicked off the field for celebrating a goal.
It sounds weird, but it’s the norm, and everyone has to do it. It is against the rules to take off your shirt to celebrate a goal, and doing so should get you a warning. Many people think it’s very wrong, and many don’t understand why. They all make dangerous tackles in the eyes, and they all get a yellow card. Is it, then, possible to compare a foul to a slightly over-the-top celebration? In theory, no, but in practice, yes, and Giroud was the last person to face the consequences. He was so caught up in the moment and the noise of the crowd that he forgot he had already been warned and that his action would lead to his expulsion.
How the rules are written
Point 12 of the FIFA rules makes it clear that players can celebrate when they score a goal, but they can’t do it too much. Antonio Cassano got a yellow card from Collina in 2004 when he took off his shirt and kicked the corner flag to celebrate scoring a goal for Roma against Juventus. He also said, “A player must be warned, even if the goal is not counted, if he takes off his shirt or puts it over his head.” So, according to the rules, taking off the shirt or pulling it up is the same thing. This last form refers to how Fabrizio Ravanelli used to celebrate a goal by ripping it off and carrying it on his head. He was the first person to come up with this idea.
From where did this rule come?
The rule that the referee has to warn a player who takes off his shirt to celebrate a goal dates back to 2004. But it’s harder to figure out where the idea came from and why, since there are many versions of the story, all of which are theoretically possible.
So, there is no official explanation. Instead, there are a number of ways to look at it and try to figure out why it is. The first has to do with not wanting to lose too much time, but this is a bad reason because the referee can make up for lost time by giving a number of minutes of added time.
Another reason is that the players want to keep the fans from getting into trouble. In the past, when a player threw his shirt into the stands to celebrate a goal, fans who wanted to catch it caused trouble by getting violent. Religion is another reason. The former head of the German refereeing commission, Volker Roth, said a long time ago, “In Islamic countries, taking off your jersey is an insult to the crowd,” and since the rule is the same everywhere, it was thought that it should be the same for everyone. So, it’s not likely that this kind of party will happen at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
But anything can be written on the back of the jersey, which is another reason why the game uniform can’t be taken off. Just as soccer players are known for making controversial comments during games, they are also known for dedicating games to their wives, children, or friends, often with messages of encouragement or political messages.
But the most reliable theory is that it has to do with business. With a double meaning: Some people think that when the rule against taking off your shirt to celebrate a goal was put in place in 2004, it was because of how popular Christian Vieri was. After each goal, he took off his black and blue Inter shirt and showed the famous Sweet Years brand shirt underneath.
On the other hand, teams and sponsors have always been against the trend of taking off the team jersey. This is because right after a goal is when the main sponsor and technical sponsor get the most exposure. If a footballer takes it off, brands that pay a lot to have their names on team shirts lose a few seconds of TV shots or photo shoots.
No matter why the rule is in place, it must be followed. And Giroud will remember it well by the next game.
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