Soccer Referee Equipment

Take a close look at the gears & accessories of professional football referees

Soccer referees need certain gears & accessories in order to regulate a match properly

Do you want to become a professional football referee? Aside from knowing the roles and responsibilities of a soccer ref, you and your assistant refs must also have the equipment necessary for officiating matches. Below is a checklist of the gears and devices professional referees use in enforcing the rules of football.

The whistle is the equipment a football official uses to start a game or call foulsWhistle

Only the main or head referee has the whistle. Traditionally, whistles were made from metal because they produce loud, high-pitched sounds but plastic whistles are more preferred these days.

There are two other types of whistle you can choose from: one is the conventional sling whistle that you can wear around your neck, and the other is the finger whistle, which you can wear around the fingers.

TimepieceThe wristwatch, an indispensable gear for soccer referees, is used in timekeeping

Football officials need to have a watch, stopwatch, or any similar device that will allow them to keep track of time accurately. Head referees in top-flight leagues typically wear two wristwatches: one watch runs nonstop during a game while the other is stopped every time there is a stoppage or delay of play. This second watch is used to compute for the length of injury time in a football match.

The notebook is an accessory that helps a football referee note players booked with yellow or red cardYellow card, red card, & notebook

Cards are indispensable accessories for a referee:

  • the red card is issued for serious violations of the game laws

The head ref uses a notebook to record the jersey number of players who have been booked with a yellow or red card. The uniform of football officials (Soccer referee uniforms) typically has breast pockets to place the cards and notebook in.  

Assistant referee’s flag The flags are equipments used by linesmen in football to signal for an offside or throw-in

Assistant referees in soccer (or linesmen, as they were previously called) help the head referee enforce the game rules and regulations with the use of a flag. FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, requires that a flag be made of bright colors. The flag can be plain, quartered (made of two different, alternating colors), or diamond patterned.

The assistant football referees use their flag to signal for an offside, throw-in, or substitution. Assistant referees always carry their flag unfurled so their signals are easily seen.

The pressure gauge is a device used by soccer refs to measure the air pressure of the ballPressure gauge

A pressure gauge is a device that a soccer referee uses to check before the game if the ball has the right air pressure. A ball having too much pressure can be too hard to play with while one with too little pressure can be too soft. The gauge has a built-in needle that is fitted to the valve of a ball and a meter that measures pressure.

Electronic boardsThe electronic board is a special accessory in pro leagues to indicate a substitution or injury time length

In top-flight leagues such as the Premier League or in major competitions like the FIFA World Cup, an electronic board is used to signal for substitutions. It displays the number of player coming in and of the player being substituted out.

The board is held by a fourth official who stays outside of the playing field, near the centerline. The electronic board is also used to indicate the number of minutes added to each half of a game.

The transmitter is a device used by football officials to communicate with each other during a gameTransmitter

The transmitter is a common equipment for referees in top-flight leagues and international competitions. It is a radio-like device used by the officials to communicate with each other during a game. The transmitter is typically made of a body, which is worn at the waist, and a mouthpiece and earphone.