Die Spielregeln, English

Law 5: The referee

In this article the development of the referee and of the umpires before 1891 are described.


Umpires already existed in the first half of the 19th century at the football match of private schools. For Eton it is said that there was a mediating, judicially instance (1845) 1)Cf. Manganese, J. A.: Prologue. In: J. A. Manganese (Hg): Sport in Europe. Politics, Class, Gender. Preston 1999. p. iv-viii, here p. vii., which sat outside the playing field and act on invocation of the captains (a kind of player-trainer-manager) after they could not agree.

The association game at the end of the 19th century was neither fairer nor more unfair than it is today, so a referee was necessary. For already in this century there were numerous attempts to deceive the umpires and referee, be it by concealed fouls, constant “hand!” and “offside!” calls and other actions that have not changed at all.

“You know very well that that last shot was not a goal,” said an unknown referee to a player at the end of the 19th century. The player replied: “Of course I do, but I didn’t know that you did, and nothing is lost by appealing.”2)Brown, Paul: How referees are tricked – a Victorian football football[!] ref reveals all. In: Goalpost. URL: www.goalpost.co.uk/how-referees-are-tricked (Last accessed: 30.06.2017. On 22th September 2018 not available any more.).

 

Year (Source) new or changed laws (proposing club/association, if known)
1847 and following (Eton Field Game) Each team chose their umpire, who had to adjudicate on an appeal of his team.
1858 (Harrow Football) Each team chose their umpire, who then had to adjudicate on an appeal of his team.
1871 (Sheffield FA) Introduction of umpires. Each team chose their umpire, who then had to adjudicate on an appeal of his team. Tasks: Check the boots of the players.
1874 (FA) Introduction of umpires. Each team chose their umpire, who then had to adjudicate on an appeal of his team. Tasks: Check the boots of the players.
1875 (Sheffield FA) For better signaling the umpires used flags. They still react only on invocation.
1877 (FA) Other tasks of the umpires: signifying handgame, ungentlemanly conduct and violation of the offside law. They also signal when the ball get into touch or behind the goal (Clydesdale FC).
1878 (FA) The umpires use a whistle for better signaling, but they still react only on an appeal .
1881 (FA) The umpires is supplemented by a referee who can react to the umpires’ call. He is selected by mutual agreement between the participating teams. Added tasks: timekeeping, booking or dismissal (Birmingham FA).
1882 (FA) The referee has the power to abandon the game if spectators interrupt with the game (Upton Park FC, Old Etonians).
1888 (IFAB) Referee’s power: Additionally, he can stop the game when he may deem it necessary in the event of spectators interfering with the game.
1889 (IFAB) Referee’s duty: Additionally, he can award a free kick without appeal because of dangerous play, stop the game by reason of darkness, keep a record of the game, act as timekeeper and shall caution players for ungentlemanly conduct. If a player shows repeal repeated ungentlemanly conduct, the referee can send him of the field of play and transmit his name to the Council of their (National) Associations and whom shall be solely vested the right of accepting an apology. Also, in case of abandoning a game or any undue interference by an umpire, he shall report the situation to the Associations, who shall have full power to deal with the matter.
1891 (IFAB) Introduction of the referee as team official on the field of play. His additional duties: to enforce the rules, to decide all disputed points and to send a player off in the case of violent conduct, without any previous caution (FA).
1893 (IFAB) The decision of the referee is final (FA).
1895 (IFAB) Emphasis that the referee has “full power” (FA). Only the national federation in whose competition an offence is suitable has the right to determine a punishment. The referee therefore immediately reports the offence to the National Association (FA).
1896 (IFAB) Re-emphasise that the referee has “full power”.
1897 (IFAB) It is specified that the referee’s decision regarding the match is final.
1898 (IFAB) Additional duty: The referee may extend the playing time by the wasted time (FA).
1907 (IFAB) Clarification: A player is sent off if he commits another offence. It does not have to be exactly the same as before.
1909 (IFAB) Clarification: Time lost due to an injury is also added to the playing time.
1934 (IFAB) Addition: If the game was stopped because of ungentlemanly conduct, the game is restarted with an IDFK (“free kick”).
1938 (IFAB) The referee may also apply the laws when the ball is not in play (FAW). Addition: The referee’s jurisdiction begins with his kick-off signal and when the ball is out of play, he may still impose disciplinary sanctions. Reports must be received by the association within two days (without Sundays). He decides whether the ball meets the requirements of Law 2.
1973 (IFAB) Reasons for immediate sending-off are: violent conduct, serious foul play, use of foul or abusive language (FA).
1992 (IFAB) Supplement that the referee shows a yellow card at a caution (FA). [The cards were introduced in 1970, but until 1992 not mentioned in the Laws of the Game.]
1995 (IFAB) Provisions concerning the legal liability of referees (as well as all other match officials): Referees are not liable for injuries to a player, team official or spectator, for material damage of any kind or any other loss of a person, club, company, association or similar institution. The following are examples of what may happen – or “any other decision which he may take in accordance with the Laws of the Game or in conformity with his duties in terms of the Federation, Association or League Rules or regulations under which the match is played”.
1996 (IFAB) Clarification: From the field is also sent who is guilty of a second cautionable offence (before: who persists in misconduct after having received a caution) (FIFA).
1997 (IFAB) Additional duties and power:
– controls the match in co-operation with the assistant referees, where applicable, with the fourth official
Additional duties and power:
– stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play
– allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in his opinion, only slightly injured
– ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
– allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalties the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensure at that time
– punishes the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time
– takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences. He is not obliged to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play
– takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds
– acts on the advice of assistant referees regarding incidents which he has not seen.
Supplement that the referee may only change his mind if he realises that his decision was incorrect or on the advice of an assistant referee – but only if the match has not yet been kicked off.
1999 (IFAB) Change that every ball that is used meet the requirements of Law 2 (IFAB).
2002 (IFAB) The referee may not allow a player to return to the field of play until the match has been restarted (FIFA).
2005 (IFAB) The referee may also change his decision only until he has finished the match (SFA).
2008 (IFAB) Supplement that also decisions of the referee regarding weather, goal scoring and match result are final. He may also change his mind on the advice of the Fourth Official (unless he has already restarted the match). Supplement to the above examples: Not only decision in accordance with the Laws of the Game, but also “in conformity with his duties in terms of the Federation, that he may take in accordance with the Laws of the Game or in conformity with his duties under the terms of FIFA, confederation, member Association or League Rules or regulations under which the match is played”.
2012 (IFAB) Communication equipment is permitted between match officials.
2016 (IFAB) Additional, if a referee is incapacitated, play may continue under the supervision of the other match officials until the ball is next out of play. It is emphasized that the decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected. It is specified that the referee must have whistle(s), watch(es), red and yellow cards and a notebook (or other means of keeping a record of the match and may have equipment for communicating with other match officials (buzzer/beep flags, headsets, etc.) and EPTS or other fitness monitoring equipment in addition. Also, he may not wear jewellery or other electronic equipment. The signal for advantage may now also be performed with one hand. Introduction of the passage, which was previously a decision. It is added in the text that these decisions also include to require an injured player to be removed from the field of play for treatment.
2018 (IFAB) It is added that the provisions concern only on-field referees. The VAR protocol summarizes the decisions in which the VAR may intervene and how to undertake a ‘review’.
2019 (IFAB) Addition of the cards for team officials. It has also been added that a player does not have to leave the field if he is to perform the penalty kick.

 

Fußnoten   [ + ]

1. Cf. Manganese, J. A.: Prologue. In: J. A. Manganese (Hg): Sport in Europe. Politics, Class, Gender. Preston 1999. p. iv-viii, here p. vii.
2. Brown, Paul: How referees are tricked – a Victorian football football[!] ref reveals all. In: Goalpost. URL: www.goalpost.co.uk/how-referees-are-tricked (Last accessed: 30.06.2017. On 22th September 2018 not available any more.).