Football referee kit bag items

Whether you’re refereeing Sunday league football or an aspiring pro ref, you’ll need to build a high-quality equipment inventory to ensure you’re always ready to officiate. 

Here at The Soccer Store, we like to help players, coaches and match officials prepare for match action, which is why we’ve created this list of essential and desirable kit bag items for grassroots referees. 

Essential Items for Referee Kit Bags

If you need to referee a grassroots football match at short notice, make sure you always have these items to hand.

Kit Bag

Let’s start at the beginning. You’re going to need a good bag to store all your officiating equipment. A referee’s kit bag has a variety of storage compartments for essentials such as cards, whistles and substitute boards. If you’re carrying boots, kit and other desirable refereeing items, buy a large kit bag and place your ref’s kit bag inside it. 


A referee’s stopwatch is indispensable for accurately timing the duration of matches, including stoppage time. It allows referees to manage game time efficiently and ensures fairness in enforcing time-related rules. It’s also accurate and easy to use while you’re running around.

Referee’s Whistle

The referee's whistle is perhaps the most iconic tool in a referee's arsenal. It serves as a means of communication with players, signalling the start and end of a match, fouls and other important game events. OK, that’s stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many grassroots football referees arrive at matches without a whistle!

Red and Yellow Cards with a Wallet

A wallet with red and yellow cards specifically designed to hold red and yellow cards is essential for referees to effectively administer disciplinary action quickly and efficiently. 

Flag Set

A football flag set is vital for assistant referees to signal offsides, fouls and other infractions to the main referee. It enhances communication between officials and helps maintain the integrity of the game. Even if you’re the referee, take two — just in case your assistant referees forget theirs!

Substitute Board

A substitute board is crucial for indicating player substitutions to both teams, spectators and officials. It ensures clarity and transparency in the substitution process.

Desirable Items for Referee Kit Bags

Alongside the essential equipment like whistles and cards, personal hygiene and safety items are also crucial components of a referee's kit bag. Here's a breakdown of what should be included under the category of personal hygiene and safety:

Personal Hygiene Stuff

If you’re a grassroots referee in the UK, you’re probably used to tracking through mud and braving the elements. It’s always a good idea to at least freshen up a little before you head home, which is why some hygiene essentials are a good idea. 

Towel: A compact towel is essential for staying dry and clean during and after the match.

Wash Bag: Include travel-sized toiletries such as soap, shampoo and deodorant to freshen up during breaks or after the game.


You probably don’t want to travel to grassroots football pitches in your boots, so pack them in your bag and travel to the game in a pair of trainers. It might also be a good idea to take a few bits and pieces to clean your boots afterwards — as well as a plastic bag to protect your kit bag from mud!

First Aid Kit

It should contain basic medical supplies like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers and eye wash to address minor injuries or ailments that may occur on the field. To ensure you have everything you need, opt for a football first aid kit that has been endorsed by the English Schools FA or a similarly respected institution.

Spare Ball and Ball Pump

Having a spare ball ensures that play can continue uninterrupted if the match ball becomes damaged or lost. And having a ball pump is always a good idea — even the best balls will gradually deflate over time. 

Buy Essential Grassroots Referee Equipment in the UK

Including these items in a referee's kit bag not only promotes personal hygiene and safety but also ensures that referees are adequately prepared to handle unexpected situations during matches.

And when it comes to stocking up, The Soccer Store has you covered!