Why football referees dressed in black?

Why football referees dressed in black?
The legendary Guruceta, all black, with his linesmen before a Sporting-Sabadell party late 80 (Photo: Trade)

Last update October 8, 2020 by Javier Argudo

Football referees. That figure that usually receives the wrath of the fans when things do not go right to your computer. Responsible for administering justice in a sport that moves so many economic interests as both sentimental. Definitely, authentic 'antiheros’ football.

Incredibly, As we discussed in another article, when the football game was played back in the nineteenth century there were no referees, basically because they were not necessary. The football players, obviamente lovers, they managed perfectly for a match with full nobility and reach agreement on some very specific plays in which he could be committed some minor offense.

But nevertheless, when football starts to professionalize you need someone to restore order. Since its inception, collegiate always wore dark. Although not confirmed the 100%, it seems that the fact that those responsible for administering justice in the game (as judges in court) He made using similar black outfits a toga.

further, we must stress that in the early years football referees wore an elegant black jacket, white shirt and tie. It looks like, although the dress was evolved and modernized, like is logic, They maintained that elegant touch of his origins, always with the black as the main color and representative of this group.


But this sport evolves and football referees changed their image dramatically in World celebrated in the United States in the year 1994. It was the world of changes and developments and one of them was very visual. The referees They put aside their characteristic black color and passed to wear bright colors shirts. The pink, yellow or gray gave a modern touch to these 'little men’ what, definitely, They looked different.

Football referees in USA 94
One of the great innovations of World Cup USA '94 was seeing collegiate with colored shirts (Football Museum)

Since then there have been many changes in arbitration. The advent of technology allows us to see the judges with earpieces and all kinds of gadgets to have good communication with his assistants (Linesmen lifelong) and with VAR room reviewing the most controversial plays video. But nevertheless, the veterans will always remember referees black football as something lifelong.


Javier Argudo

PC Football changed my life.

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