I had a couple of questions regarding referee uniform and the signal for end of game. Question 1. I know a referee that has several tattoo’s on his forearms. He always wears long sleeve shirts. When I asked him about it, he said he likes to keep them covered to appear more professional. My question is, does he have to go thru this trouble, especially on warm days? Tattoo’s are a lot more commonplace and popular than they were 30 years ago.

The other question is when the referee whistles the end of the game.

I’ve seen many referee’s whistle twice, some just whistle once and point to the center circle. Other times I hear 3 or 4 short blasts of the whistle. I’ve even seen a referee point skyward and watching some games on TV, some referee’s wave both arms back and forth. Is there a proper or preferred whistle signal and/or hand movement to signify the end of the game? Thanks!

USSF answer (May 6, 2008):
1. Although USSF does not have a specific policy on visible tattoos worn by referees, we commend the referee to whom you referred for deciding that his tattoos could detract from his professional appearance and therefore chose to keep them out of sight by wearing a long sleeved jersey.

Obviously, the need for a professional appearance is greater for more competitive, higher skilled matches. After all, the referee should not be the center of attention — the players are.

The length of sleeve the referee chooses to wear sets the standard for the team. If the referee wants to wear the long-sleeve shirt, so be it; the other members of the officiating crew should follow suit. However, if one or both of the assistant referees does/do not have a long-sleeved shirt in the chosen color, then the referee should consider wearing short sleeves if that is possible.

2. There is no standard whistle or other signal for announcing the end of the game.

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