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: 32687

Mechanics 9/4/2018

RE: Other

Glenn of Boston, MA USA asks...

Silly topic, but can you talk about the use of whistle blowing techniques?

It's commonly practiced to blow the whistle longer and harder for a harder foul, and to do a simple tweet for a common foul. But I frequently blow the whistle for a long time on my offside calls because the action is so fast and I want it to be clear that I am stopping the game, and also with new whistles like Fox whistles, you can't really alter the pitch or volume of your whistle blow because of how air travels through the whistle

Can you talk about what the best and most effective ways to blow your whistle are, ex. durations and volumes for different situations, etc

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Glenn,
not a silly topic at all, a whistle is used as a command tool . Softly is not a whisper just a solid push of air . Harder or longer we are peeved at something or need to get their attention ASAP.
We suggest NOT to overuse it or to ignore it but to bring it out as a tool to be used when the match requires it!
How loud is the stadium, you are in? Are there 4 by 4 fields tight together with whistles sounding all around? There are different whistles out there but the pealess are preferred as the generally sound off when you call upon them. I have a few assorted and if I can differentiate when in the all around sound jamboree I will chose accordingly.

You are aware the whistle is NOT required ALL the time but in specific instances?
A ball headed a mile out into touch does not require whistle nor a ball firmly sitting in at the back of the net. Not every restart requires a whistle but eye contact & thumbs up to the player doing the restart is a good idea.
I either use a short soft or sharp piercing blast to stop or start play if there are no reasons to go long or louder.
I use a hard wolf whistle when running in on a particular situation where I might be too far away to really sell my call prolonging the sound until I get there at the center of it all. .
I use a series of toots before a restart to settle players down if I want to delay the restart .
I hammer a long loud one almost a shrill for the obvious cardable tackle with a quick result but I will add a series of loud short blasts if I sense trouble, especially to head off retaliation in the aftermath hard fouls often create.
On offside almost an extended two tone long drawn out to indicate play is now dead. I use almost the same for a ball that was in, went out and came back in again. Need to convey play is DEAD, to confirm the old adage ,you play the whistle! Your whistles should convey this message to the players!
"" You can HEAR the whistle, you know I saw it, let me deal with it! I have used it to communicate to you do not pretend to not understand!""
I use a VERY clear advantage signal if I decided NOT to whistle .
On PKS or ceremonial restarts always a good solid loud blast but then too a very clear we WAIT signal, point to whistle held at eye level, eye contact and acknowledgement from the restarting player so there are no excuses for miscommunication prior to the whistle. .
The peep, peep peep, peep peep peeeeeeeeeeeep to end the half or match.
I will use the arm/ hand wave with a quick whistle to say let get going at times for delayed throws & corners

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Glenn
Thanks for the question.
Julian Carosi an FA referee instructor managed a successful website for many years. One of the papers he wrote was on the physical use of the whistle so it is an important topic.
To me the whistle should convey a message each time it is used. A single shrill tone for every stoppage / start does not convey anything. To me the whistle should convey meaning and instructions
A soft peep for a minor trip
A sharp strong blast for a serious foul.
A series of shrill whistles if the referee feels like a confrontation is getting out of hand, a sort of I see this and I do not like it.
A gentle peep for a signal to restart.
Two blows for halftime and three for full time.
As to offside it depends on factors such as who far the referee is away, wind direction etc. The first whistle will give an indication of what is required.
If the referee is not getting a reaction from players on the whistle then he has to look at the overall use. Some referees have a *poor* whistle technique, almost afraid to be heard.
Another factor is overuse of the whistle when the ball goes out of play I would say minimal use is better unless it is unclear that the ball has in fact gone out of play and comes back in again. There is no need to whistle for an obvious corner, goalkick etc which seems to be happening more now.
The danger is the overuse of the whistle has the potenial to devalue same when it is required.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32687
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

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.