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, 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).
1889 (IFAB) 1889 the umpires were deleted in the law and the referee was now actively involved in the match on the field . Referees still have the power to abandon the match as long as they deemed appropriate, to keep time and records of the match. They could also caution and dismiss players. If they dismiss a player or abandon a game, they had to inform the national association and justify their action. After 1889, after 1893 and 1895, it had to be repeated in the laws that their decisions were definite and could not be changed. This law had already been used before for cup competitions in England.
1891 (IFAB) Added task: The referee controls the player’s equipment.
1897 (IFAB) The referee must allow the goalkeeper’s change during the match.
1898 (IFAB) The referee can also adjudicate if the match is stopped.
1901 (IFAB) Free kick is awarded for a infringement of the laws.
1903 (IFAB) If the change of the goalkeeper was not denounced to or allowed by the referee, or if it was denied, a penalty shot will be awarded.
1903 (IFAB) Match reports must be received by the national association within three days.
1906 (IFAB) The referee always write a report to the national association.
1909 (IFAB) The lost time through stoppages in the game will be added after every half time.
1914 (IFAB) Injured players must be moved from the field behind the goal as quickly as possible so that the game can be restarted.
1924 (IFAB) If a player touches the ball before it touches the ground, the referee has to stopp the game and penalise the touching with a free kick for the opposite team (FA).
1924 (IFAB) A player may ask the referee for the reason for his decision, but is not entitled to appeal by word or action. A referee is obliged to treat the infringement of law (FA).
1924 (IFAB) If the referee is of the opinion that a player is seriously injured, he shall stop the game so that the player can be removed from the field. If the player is slightly injured, the game is not stopped until the ball is out of the field (SFA).
1936 (IFAB) During stoppages in the game and as long as the referee is on the field before and after the match, he may not sanctioning law infringements by cautioning or dismissing, but he may penalise misconduct or ungentlemanly behavior (FA).
1938 (IFAB) The referee shall ensure that no other person is on the field than the linesmen and players, shall stop play only in the event of what he considers to be a serious injury, shall expel players from violent play without warning and shall signal each restart of play (FAW).
1950 (IFAB) For international matches, neutral referees are elected from the official list of international referees (SFA).
1958 (DFB) A player with a bleeding wound must leave the playing field until the bleeding is stopped.
1960 (IFAB) If a referee does not report a misconduct, he will be suspended or otherwise sanctioned (FA).
1965 (IFAB) The referee shall report any misconduct by players, team officials or spectators, whether it occurs on the field or in the changing rooms and corridors leading to them (FAW).
1969 (IFAB) The referee’s report must be received by the national association within two days (except Sundays) (FIFA).
1970 (IFAB) If the linesmen are neutral, the referee shall operate in the diagonal system. If they are not, the referee shall inform them of the method he intends to use (FIFA).
1973 (IFAB) Definition of signals from the referee and his assistants for corner kick, goal kick, foul, advantage, caution, offside, throw-in and goal (IFAB).
1982 (IFAB) The signal for substitutions is determined (SFA).
1992 (IFAB, DFB) The maximum age of referees was limited to 47 years in Germany, 45 years for FIFA matches.
1994 (IFAB) Referees no longer have to wear black clothing, but can choose any colour as long as it is different from the player’s jersey colour.
1995 (IFAB) A referee (or, where appropriate, a linesman or fourth official) shall not be liable for (1) injuries to a player, official or spectator, (2) damage of any kind whatsoever to property or (3) any other loss suffered by any person, club, firm, association or similar entity as a result of a decision due or arising out of any decision he may take in accordance with the Laws of the Game or with regard to the normal procedures for the conduct, execution and control of a match (FIFA).
2002 (IFAB) An injured player who has been treated may not return to the field until the match has been resumed (FIFA).
2012 (IFAB) The vanishing spray previously used in the USA is adopted to mark the position of the ball in free kicks or (in the case of indirect kicks) the appropriate distance on the turf.

 

Proposals for law amendments that were not accepted:

year club/association proposal reaction
1914 IFA Goal judges. Reason: Fearing that not enough officials would be found. rejected
1924 SFA No stoppage in the game due to an injury of a player until ball gets off the field. The injured player shall then be carried off the field and the game restarted. withdrawn
1937 FA Allowing clubs to use two referees in their training matches under the jurisdiction of the national associations. withdrawn
1963 FAW Only referees should decide whether to play on a field in bad weather conditions. rejected
1971 IFAB At this year’s IFAB Annual General Meeting, Stanley Rous OBE considered introducing two referees. withdrawn

 

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.).