The Reasons Why Soccer Players Take off Their Shirts after a Goal

When you watch a few soccer matches, you will quickly realize how goals are heavily celebrated by the soccer players who scored them.

You will see all sorts of weird things that soccer players do as a form of celebration whenever they score a goal. The celebrations become even more intense if the goals are last minute goals or are against a rival team. One of these celebrations is taking the shirt off after a goal.

Some soccer players take their shirt off after they score a very important goal as a form of celebration. They take their shirt off after a goal either to wave the shirt in front of their opponent’s fans, or to show off their ripped bodies, or to show a message under their shirt, or just because of the extreme joy that they feel after scoring an important goal.

So in simple words, taking your shirt off after you score in soccer is just a form of celebration. However, sometimes it is more than that. There are some soccer players who took their shirt off after they scored only to show a message that they have hidden under their team’s shirt.

For example, After the death of Diego Maradona in November 2020, Lionel Messi paid tribute to Maradona by taking his shirt off. Messi wore one of Maradona’s shirts under his own team’s shirt, and when Messi scored, he took off his team’s jersey to show Maradona’s shirt as a tribute.

If you don’t know who Maradona or Messi are, they are 2 of the top soccer players in the history of the game.

Are soccer players punished for taking their shirt off?

Yes. Soccer players receive a yellow card whenever they take their shirt off after they score. FIFA makes it very clear that players should not take their shirts off when they score a goal, and that if they do, then they should get a yellow card.

Some players may even get a red card if they exaggerate a lot after they take their shirt off.

For example, if the player tries to insult the opponent’s fans with the shirt that they took off, then the referee may decide to give them a red card immediately and kick them out of the match. 

Also, if a player takes their shirt off after a goal and wastes a lot of time before they put it back on, then the referee may decide to give them a red card too. 

The reasoning behind this is that the referee should give a yellow card for taking the shirt off, and a yellow card for wasting a lot of time. In soccer, 2 yellow cards result in a red card hence the player gets sent off the field with a red card.

Why are soccer players not allowed to take their shirts off?

Alright, so we now know that soccer players aren’t allowed to take their shirts off, but the real question is: Why?

The reasons aren’t really clear but the most famous ones are the following 2 reasons:

1- Soccer jerseys are sometimes sponsored and they should remain on the players all the time

If you have been watching soccer for a while, you will notice that most of the top soccer clubs around the world have logos of corporations on their jerseys. In other words, there are companies that pay money for the club in order to have their logo on the player’s jerseys.

When a soccer player scores an important goal, photos of them celebrating will be taken by the photographers on the field and these photos will later storm the internet and be used on most of the major soccer related websites and magazines.

The sponsors will be extremely happy to see their logo spread all across the internet. However, if the player decides to take their shirt off after a goal, then they might possibly take the advertisement away from the sponsors since the internet will prefer spreading a shirtless photo of the player instead of a regular photo of them having their shirt on.

Even though the sponsors may not be the direct reason behind FIFA’s decision concerning players taking their shirts off after a goal, one can’t deny the benefits that these sponsors are getting from such a rule.

2- Taking the shirt off is considered an unsporting behavior by FIFA

The reason that FIFA do not want soccer players to take their shirts off after they score a goal is because they consider it an unsporting behavior that doesn’t belong in soccer.

In fact, they state this reason in the article that I linked above.

In other words, FIFA might want the soccer players to not be seen shirtless after they score as a form of respect for the game and for certain groups of people around the world who love watching soccer.

You might argue that their reasons do not make a lot of sense. I mean, players do take their shirts off sometimes after the match in order to exchange their jerseys with other players. 

Though it could be that FIFA is allowing the jersey exchanges that happen after the match since the jersey exchange is part of the soccer culture and is considered a sign of respect between the players exchanging the jerseys.

With that said, I will end my article here. Here’s a quick summary of what you have just read.


Some players take their shirt off after they score a goal just as a form of celebration. The soccer rules require that the referee give a yellow card for players who take their shirts off after they score.