In all professional football matches, there are usually four officials that control a match: the referee along with two assistant referees and a fourth official. The referee usually takes the lead and has the full authority over the game. Did you also know that the role of referees can have a great impact on football games?
A Brief History of Referees
Referees were not always in the game of football during the early years. Most games were handled based on fair play and good sportsmanship by the teams. It was during the 1860s that disputes began to come up, making it necessary to include umpires in football matches. Referees were later introduced in 1881, to take control of the game officially.
The roles of the referees began to evolve in the 20th century as very influential figures in football emerged. It was in the 1930s that an English referee, Stanley Rous, drafted a rewrite of the rules of the game. He introduced the diagonal control system, which is still in use to date (as of 2018). This same referee also led the training of new referees for FIFA, at some point, before his death.
The Responsibilities of Referees
Referees have full authority and control in football matches. They also enforce the rules of the game during the football match, which they have been appointed as officials. Almost all online sports betting sites (e.g. Unibet Sports Betting) often offer a lot of betting options based solely on referee decisions, like number of yellow cards or number of penalties. That being said, these are their main duties and responsibilities:
They Have a Primary Duty of Enforcing All the Rules
The main responsibility of referees in football is to enforce the rules of the game during the match. This is the primary reason for their appointment and because of this, they have been given full authority to penalise players that breach the rules during the game.
They Have a Duty to Control the Football Match
The referee is the leader of the football match and has the responsibility of controlling every activity for that game. They are assisted by the two assistant referees and the fourth official to enable them carry out this duty according to the rules of the game.
Ensuring Players’ Safety
During the football match, if a player is injured, the referee must stop the match immediately. It is the referee’s duty to make sure that the injured player is taken away from the field immediately, to receive medical attention.
Time Keeping and Record Keeping Is Mandatory For Referees
Referee takes record of the time of the match, i.e., when the game starts, at halftime and the final closing of the match. Referees must always have a record of any offences that players commit during the game and also the substitutions that are made while the match is on.
Before the start of any match, referees must check the players’ equipment, to ensure it is in line with the requirements stated in the laws of the game. The player’s equipment refers to items like protective gear, shoes, shorts and shirts. If a player is found not wearing the recommended football kit, that player will be asked to leave the pitch and can only join the game when they are in the correct kit. After the player returns, the referee will still have to confirm that the player is fit to join the match.
Stopping or Suspending a Match
If the referee sees it fit that the game should not continue as scheduled, they have the discretion to stop or suspend it. Referees can suspend or abandon a match if there is any foul committed as prescribed by the rules of the game. They can also stop the game if there is any external interference.