Gear Review: B+D Compact Referee Set

I’m one of those people that’s always looking for a “better way” and this applies to recording game information. I’ve tried a host of different options: the standard data wallet with pre-printed forms, data wallet with custom printed forms, a pre-printed booklet of game forms, a couple of different write-on cards – including a couple of prototypes I made myself – and, most recently, a German-made data wallet that uses a custom printed game card.

The new data wallet I’m trying now is the B+D Compact Referee Set, available in the USA via ProReferee (US$7) and SoccerSuperstoreUSA . This wallet takes a different approach in that it doesn’t use the traditional booklet form factor.  The wallet-style design allows everything to fit together in one compact system, which makes it very easy to carry in a shirt or shorts pocket.

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The B+D wallet is more like a pouch, with ingeniously cut slots for the red and yellow cards, and a plastic retainer for the game information card. The slots are cut such that the yellow card can only be removed from the side of the wallet, while the red can only be removed from the top. The game information card sits on the top, held in place by a strip of clear plastic that is affixed to the front of the wallet.

The game information card is printed on a relatively thick piece of cardboard that is printed on both sides. The basic information about the match, along with a place to record goals is printed on the front.

The back, which is printed in color, is for recording misconduct. The front of the card has a glossy finish, while the back does not. I’m guessing the reason for the glossy finish is protect the card from sweat while it is in your pocket.

I’ve written on the game card with a variety of writing utensils, with a variety of results. The best option is a standard #2 pencil. A mechanical pencil with a .7mm lead doesn’t work well at all; a ball point pen works well, but other types of pens tend to run and/or bleed and end up on your hands.

Even though the front of the game card has a finish on it, it was still impacted by sweat during a very hot match where I perspired a lot.

Clearly, it doesn’t get as hot in Germany (or the UK where these products are also sold), so you may want to use the game cards only in cooler weather.

The yellow and red cards are thicker than the run-of-the-mill variety you get in a cheap set, but not as nice as the nicest you’ve seen. Still, usable and thick enough to last for a while. They measure 9cm x 12cm.

All in all, this is a nice set and I’ll be using it for a while, in spite of the limited usability of the game information card.

Update: After using this set for nearly a year, I can report that it has held up quite well.  Well, at least until my sunscreen container leaked all over it.  Can’t blame that one on B+D.

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