Skip to Content

Why Do Soccer Referees Have Two Whistles?

Why Do Soccer Referees Have Two Whistles?

Why Do Soccer Referees Have Two Whistles?

Soccer referees are some of the most important non-playing individuals on a pitch. Tasked with maintaining order and fair play before, during, and immediately after a game, soccer referees make binding decisions as to the application of soccer laws during a live match.

And to do so, soccer referees have a multitude of options. However, perhaps none are as important as their whistles. Often the loudest device on the soccer field, a blown whistle can signify a pause in play, the end of regulation play, an injury on the field, or the resumption of play after the half.

Yet, often, you will see a soccer referee carrying or holding two whistles with them. Below, we are going to review just why soccer referees have two whistles and whether or not having an additional whistle on hand is recommended for soccer referees.

Why Do Soccer Referees Have Two Whistles?

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Soccer Referee?

In soccer, the referee is responsible for more than just administering the Laws of the Game. The soccer referee is responsible for the entire game event, including events before the start of the game, during the game, and immediately after the end of a game.

Before the start of the game, a soccer referee must ensure that both teams are ready for play and that all prohibited items, including jewelry, are removed. In addition, the referee should meet with both team’s coaches and players and confirm which players will be starting the game. Lastly, before the start of the game, the soccer referee will toss a coin to determine which team starts the play.

During the game, a soccer referee is in charge of the Laws of the Game. The laws cover all aspects of the game and range from ball specifications to player dress code to number of players allowed on the field. A soccer referee must be proficient in all laws of the game and should administer them without bias or predujice.

Lastly, once a soccer game has ended, the referee is responsible for ensuring all players and fans exit the match in an orderly and respectful manner. Similarly, many times, you will see a soccer referee scribbling notes on a card. These cards are meant to provide a match report to the appropriate authorities and is a detailed documentation of the incidents, goals, and disciplinary actions taken during a match.

When do Soccer Referee’s Blow Their Whistle?

In soccer, only the designated official or referee is allowed to carry and blow a whistle on the field. Doing so can signify important moments during the match and helps to ensure players from both teams are kept informed and abreast to the happenings on the field, even when they do not happen to be close to those happenings.

In soccer, the referee will typically blow on the whistle during some of the following moments:

  • For the kickoff
  • To stop play
  • For a ceremonial free kick to restart
  • For a penalty kick
  • To indicate a match has been suspended or terminated
  • When a game has ended
  • To restart play after an injury
  • To restart play after the issuance of a yellow or red card
  • To restart play after a substitution

Why Do Some Soccer Referees Carry Two Whistles?

Once you understand the importance of a whistle for a soccer referee, it can become a bit easier to understand why some soccer referees choose to carry two or more whistles on them. However, below, we are going to expound a bit on just why so many soccer referees opt to carry more than one whistle during a game.

  • As a backup – perhaps the most common reason seen for a soccer referee to carry more than one whistle is as a backup. Understanding the importance of the whistle to a soccer officials core duties, if their whistle were to break or malfunction, they would be unable to complete the core duties and responsibilities of their job. However, carrying a backup whistle helps them to avoid this predicament and keeps them better prepared for the job.
  • Some whistles are louder than others – similarly, for a soccer referee to properly perform their core duties and responsibilities, they must ensure that all players and coaches both on and off the field can clearly hear when the whistle is blown. As such, some referees may opt to utilize a slightly less loud and a slightly louder whistle during a game, opting to alternate between the two depending on the situation and severity of the circumstance.
  • To avoid confusion between games being played close by – and lastly, particularly in more amateur fields where multiple games are being played in close quarters, a referee may opt to utilize a whistle with differing tone to ensure no confusion between the games being played on another field. Doing so is a great way to ensure players on a specific field are not confused by a whistle blown on another field and during another game.

Best Referee Whistles

Although FIFA has many rules and regulations concerning the game, the players, the coaches, and the officials, few rules exist regarding the brand of whistle an official or referee must utilize during a game. However, we’ve taken a look at some of the currently available brands and can recommend the following as the best whistles for soccer referees.

  • UNIWA Electronic Whistle – our absolute favorite refereeing whistle is the UNIWA Electronic Whistle. As an electronic whistle, the volume of the whistle output can be changed, allowing you to blow a louder or quieter whistle depending on your needs. Coming in a pack of three, you’ll be sure to have more than enough to meet your refereeing needs.
  • Hipat 2-Pack Whistles – if you’re looking for a simple yet elegant solution for your refereeing needs, we recommend the Hipat 2-Pack Whistles. Coming in an all-black design, these whistles are very reminiscent to the whistles used by referees in international soccer leagues and are relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, if you want to purchase in bulk, the overall price per whistle goes down substantially when you purchase a pack of 24.
  • Fox 40 Classic Finger Grip Whistle – we also really like the Fox 40 Classic Finger Grip Whistle. The sound produced will never exceed the force in which you blow into the whistle, but it’s relatively cool design and capability to grip to your finger helps to ensure the whistle stays in place and doesn’t fell from your hand.