Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34971


RE: Recreational Under 11

Janel of Lititz, PA United States asks...

Are noise makers (cow bells, etc.) permitted to use for cheering at games?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Janel,
This is not something that is covered in the laws of the game. Local rules of competition might have something about this, though in my experience even that is unlikely.

In general though, this would normally be OK, as far as I am aware. Spectators can as a general rule, make as much (or as little) noise as they wish. Unless spectators do something that puts the safety of the players or the conduct of the game at risk (difficult to conceive of with simply noise-making devices like bells, whistles, rattles etc) then the referee will normally just ignore them.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Janel
Thanks for the question

This is not covered under the Laws of the Game and it is not something that a referee can control.
Throughout the world there are many ways that spectators show support for their team such as drums, musical instruments, horns and no doubt bells.
When the World Cup was held in South Africa in 2010 the hosts supporter blew a local horn called a vuvuzela in huge numbers. The sound was recorded at over 125 decibels which is extremely loud.
Teams complained about it at the time yet FIFA was powerless to do anything about it so players just learnt to deal with it as best they could, Many cited lack of concentration and inability to hear player communication.

In recent times the co called Viking Thunder Clap which is a chant consisting of a loud shout and a clap in unison has gained prominence in the game . The chant has been performed by fans of a number of clubs, but came to prominence during the UEFA Euro 2016, when fans of Iceland national team performed it during games. It is loud when performed by a very large group of people.

Whether ringing cow bells at an U11 to make noise is beneficial or detrimental or not I'm not sure. It certainly would be better than unruly, unsporting shouting at players by spectators.
I have done plenty of games with large groups of young supporters chanting and using drums, hand held air horns etc with little effect on the game other than showing support and encouragement for a team.
I personally see little point in it at U11 yet the team that are using them obviously sees some benefit. I suspect that those in the area identify with this. Some online videos show cow bell ringing at other events such as running.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


Because of noise control at other types of athletic contests, some states do prohibit the use of noise makers at high school soccer games. The enforcement of the noisemaker rules is usually done by the game administrator who is assigned by the high school rather than by the referee.

I have never encountered a noisemaker rule at youth soccer levels. I also rarely encountered noisemakers at the youth level.

However, noisemakers at the professional level as pointed out are common. Perhaps, Lititz is trying to add a professional perspective to its youth games.

I will be in Lititz at the end of this month. If I observe any youth games in progress, I will try to stop and see if any noisemakers are in operation.

Thank you for this interesting question.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34971
Read other Q & A regarding

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.