Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

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
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
Panel Login

Question Number: 21305

Law 5 - The Referee 5/7/2009

RE: Varsity High School

Steve Salis of Vero Beach, FL USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 21294

FL has also gone to the DDS of control for all HS Varsity games. The reasoning is 3 whistles controls the game better than 1. I have found that if we have 3 competent referees on the field, it doesn't matter if 2 have flags or all 3 have whistles. We call the game as if the Side Referee is an AR and we discuss in pregame the duties that we will assume on the field. Thankfully, our referee association is blessed with an overwhelming majority of USSF trained referees, so the confusion is limited. All that being said, I prefer the FIFA & USSF approved DSC and really can't understand why FHSAA went this way. We do use the Dual (2 Referees) for Middle School and JV games and that is where the game is cheated. No way 2 refs can see it as well as 3.

I agree with the consensus, it can work but the true system is best and we need to return to it.

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

I have no idea what DDS is (other than Doctor of Dental Sciences). I'm assuming DSC is diagonal system of control. I don't mean to be rude, but I'm not really sure what your question is?
The 3-whistle system could only be dared introduced into an organization where either the referee has failed to their job, since they couldn't seem to communicate with their AR appropriately. Or, the AR has continuously over-stepped their authority, waving the flag about for no good reason and the referee has no other choice but to ignore the bloomin idiot. Now, you put a whistle in this same ARs hands and instead of having the option of saying 'thank you, put it down' you have to stop play and award some free kick to somebody, because the AR just had to blow that whistle.

3-whistle system? NO WAY, NO HOW. Been there done that....the book was better.

Read other questions answered by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

View Referee Debbie Hoelscher profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I think the reason many states' adoption of the 3W in NFHS games relates to the NFHS organization. They write the rules for all HS sports, not just soccer. 3W works in basketball, multiple whistles work in football, why not in soccer too?

And in theory it should work. Of course in theory a bumblebee should not be able to fly.

The problem comes when one official is out of sync with the other two. If that's the center ref in a traditional DSC game, maybe the players don't like it, but that's the way the game is played today. If it's an AR, the center referee can overrule. But if it's a side ref in a 3W system it only leads to problems: the game will be called differently in one area of the field than in another.

So why does it work in bball but not soccer? There are many theories on this, but one primary difference in soccer is the two concepts of advantage and trifling/doubtful. These are individual feeling things, not black-and-white did-it-happen things. When two officials have differing levels of feeling for the game, one of their feelings has to predominate. With multiple whistles, this doesn't happen.

As noted in the several questions on this topic, a multiple-whistle system will work with good teamwork and officials on the same brain wavelength. Unfortunately with the sometimes haphazard NFHS certification process, that isn't always the case.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Multiple whistles work in basketball and multiple flags work in American football because each official has a designated area to watch. It works in basketball because of the size of the court and the number of players. It works in football because every infraction must be called. There is no concept of advantage or a trifling foul. In soccer, there is one referee in charge that gets help from the 2 assistants. This is hugely different and allows for a much better flow of the game. Without the concept of trifling fouls you would have the whistle blowing all day long. Multiple whistles on a soccer game is simply a bad idea.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 21305
Read other Q & A regarding Law 5 - The Referee

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.