Referee (association football)

In association football, the referee is the person responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Laws of the Game during a match. The referee is the final decision-making authority on all facts connected with play, and is the match official with the authority to start and stop play and impose disciplinary action against players and coaches during a match.

Malang Diedhiou refereeing during a 2018 World Cup match

At most levels of play the referee is assisted by two assistant referees (formerly known as linesmen), who advise the referee on whether the ball leaves the playing area and any infringements of the Laws of the Game occurring outside of the view of the referee. The final decision on any decision of fact rests with the referee who has authority to overrule an assistant referee. At higher levels of play the referee may also be assisted by a fourth official who supervises the teams' technical areas and assists the referee with administrative tasks, and, at the very highest levels, additional assistant referees and/or video assistant referees. Referees and other game officials are licensed and trained by its member national organisations.


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