Football Referee Tips, Tricks, and Kit

Posted on: April 18th, 2019 | by Laura Murdoch | No Comments

Last Updated on: 13th September 2023, 05:24 pm

Football referee holding a red and yellow card

Photo created by freepik –


Like Easter without chocolate eggs, what is football without a referee? They are the person who enforces the Laws of the Game. They are the final authority when it comes to all decision making connected to play. Let’s face it, that’s a pretty important responsibility. So, what are the essentials that every referee needs to be able to deal with the tough role?


The DNA of English Refereeing

All levels of English refereeing follow the same set of values that are shared by everyone involved. Every referee is expected to adhere to these standards throughout their professional career. As defined by the FA, these values are as follows:


You can find out more about the FA’s DNA of English Refereeing in this PDF.



So, you think you’ve got some of the DNA of English refereeing inside you, now what? Just who can become a football referee? All you need to do is take part in a Basic Referees Course with your local County Football Association.

The courses are available to anyone over the age of 14 and will provide an introduction to officiating football. To find out more about the course check out the FA’s course details or contact your local County Football Association.


Stay in Control

Even though it’s an important role, it’s not always easy being a referee. We’ve all seen football players getting a little overzealous in the wake of a decision they disagree with. According to referee Andy Ryan, this is just “business as usual for a referee.” Speaking to the Guardian in 2015, Ryan admits that it’s difficult to cope but you just have to push yourself.

While experience does build composure, I’m not sure it’s possible to ever be completely calm in the face of a shouting crowd. “Fight or flight” is too in-built to permit that. So instead you have to teach yourself to ignore the surge of adrenaline and focus on the next decision.

When you’re refereeing a game, it’s important that you keep going no matter what happens.

Football referee blowing whistle

Trust Your Decisions

As a referee, every decision you make has a major impact on the game and the players. You have to be ready for the opposition to question every call. With so many people telling you that you’re wrong it can be easy to shy away. You need to trust your decision and ignore the doubt that creeps in. Refereeing is a tough job and having enough self-confidence is vital. You might not always get it right but the best thing you can do is keep making decisions.


Take a Step Back

It’s important to be able to understand when you need to step in and when you don’t. Your job may be to keep control but, ultimately, you have to respect the game. A good referee will know when they need to make a move and when they can just let players play.

We recently went through the new rules and changes for the 2019/20 football season and this could be useful to keep you up to-to-date on the latest rules.

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Football referee essentials

The Right Kit

Every good referee will be prepared for every match to ensure they are ready for anything. As standard, every referee must go into their game with a number of essential pieces of kit:


  • Whistle – at least one but we’d say it’s always worth having a spare
  • Watch – you’re going to need at least one watch to keep track of time
  • Red and yellow cards – what kind of referee is going to leave home without them?
  • Notebook and pencils – so you’ve got a way of keeping a record of the match

Of course, at certain levels, the equipment available to you might get a little bit more exciting.


  • Equipment for communicating with other match officials –buzzers, beep flags, headset etc.
  • EPTS or other fitness monitoring equipment

But it doesn’t matter what kind of football you’re officiating, if you aren’t prepared then you can’t do your job.

At Pendle, we have our own range of referee equipment that will provide you with the basics you need. We’ll have you looking your best and ready to make those tough decisions. With our help, you’ll always have a pencil to hand and your cards will never be far out of reach. Why put more worry into making the tough decisions? Check out our quality range that all come at amazing prices.

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