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Referee (football)

(Redirected from Football 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 vast majority of referees are amateur, though may be paid a small fee and/or 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.

List of famous football referees

In England:

  • Ken Aston (deceased, invented red and yellow cards)
  • David Elleray (retired)
  • Phillip Don (retired)
  • Keith Hackett (retired)
  • Jack Taylor (deceased)
  • George Courtney (retired)
  • Paul Durkin (retired)
  • Graham Barber (retired)
  • Jeff Winter (retired)
  • Neale Barry
  • Stephen Bennett
  • Mark Clattenburg
  • Michael Dean
  • Stephen Dunn
  • Andrew D'Urso
  • Dermot Gallagher
  • Mark Halsey
  • Matthew Messias
  • Graham Poll
  • Michael Riley
  • Robert Styles
  • Peter Walton
  • Howard Webb
  • Alan Wiley
  • Phillip Sharp
  • Mark Warren

In Scotland:

Hugh Dallas MBE

In Wales:

  • Clive Thomas (retired)

In Italy:

  • Pierluigi Collina (Currently the world's most recognisable football referee)

In Germany:

  • Markus Merk

In Denmark:

  • Kim Milton Nielsen

In Spain:

  • Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez
  • Manuel Diaz Vega

In Switzerland:

Urs Meier

In Portugal:

  • Lucilio Cardoso Cortez Batista

In France:

  • Gilles Vessiere
  • Marc Batta

In Sweden:

In Russia:

  • Valentin Ivanov
  • Tofik Bakhramov (the infamous 'Russian Linesman' from the 1966 World Cup Final; actually, an Azeri)

In Australia:

  • Mark Shield

External link

Laws of the Game

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45