Referee (football)

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A player is cautioned by the referee
A player is cautioned by the referee

A referee presides over a game of association football (soccer). The referee has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" (Law 5), and the referee's decisions regarding facts connected with play are final, so far as the result of the game is concerned.

The referee's numerous powers and duties are described by Law 5 of the Laws of the Game. Amongst other things, these include: Enforcing the Laws of the Game; Controlling the match in co-operation with the assistant referees (and fourth official where applicable); stop/suspend/terminate the match if appropriate; Controlling the restart of play; Acting as the timekeeper and recordkeeper of the game; Disciplining players and officials as required; etc.

The referee is assisted by two assistant referees (formerly known as linesmen), and in some matches also by a fourth official. The match officials utilise a positioning system known as the diagonal system of control.

The vast majority of referees are amateur, though may be paid a small fee and/or expenses for their services. However, in some countries a limited number of referees - who mainly officiate in their country's top division - are employed full-time by their national associations and receive a retainer at the start of every season plus match fees.

Referees officiating adult competitive international games are required to be selected from the FIFA panel of referees; this restriction does not neccessarily apply to non-competitive (so-called friendly) games or youth games.



The term referee originated in association football. Originally the team captains would consult with each other in order to resolve any dispute on the pitch. Eventually this role was delegated to an umpire. Each team would bring their own partisan umpire allowing the team captains to concentrate on the game. Later, the referee, a third "neutral" official was added. The referee would be "referred to" if the umpires could not resolve a dispute. The referee did not take his place on the pitch until 1891. Then, umpires became linesmen (now officially called assistant referees). Today, in many amateur football matches, each side will still supply their own partisan linesman to assist the neutral referee (if any) appointed by the governing football association: this is usually due to there not being enough officials available to have three present at every match.

Referees use a whistle to indicate the commencement of play, to stop play due to an infringment of other reason, to indicate half-time and full-time, and as an adjunct to verbal communication in other situations. Before the introducation of the whistle, refreees indicated their decisions by waving a hankerchief. The whistles that were first adopted by referees were made by Joseph Hudson of the ACME Whistle Company who first began to mass produce whistles in the 1870s for the Metropolitan Police Service. It is frequently stated the referee's whistle was first used in a game between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Norfolk in 1878; however no such fixture is known to have taken place between the two clubs in that year.

List of famous football referees

In England:

In Scotland:

In Wales:

In Brazil:

In Italy:

In Germany:

In Denmark:

In Spain:

In Switzerland:

In Portugal:

In France:

In Sweden:

In Russia:

In Australia:

See also:

External link

Laws of the Game (ßballschiedsrichter it:Arbitro (calcio) nl:Voetbalscheidsrechter fr:Loi_5_du_football:_l'arbitre


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