The referee ensures that sports rules are followed during live matches. Football originally had no referee, but by 1891, an impartial approach was needed, leading to the introduction of the referee. Boxing and soccer also use referees, while other sports use umpires as the final authority.
The referee is an example of a sports official who is responsible for making sure all rules associated with the sport are properly observed during a live match. While the roles of umpire and umpire are similar, different sports choose to use one designation or the other to identify the person or persons who exercise ultimate authority over the legality of any given game taking place in the course of a competition.
Football is one of the sports in which the designation of a referee is most frequently used. Originally, there was no referee included in the rules of football. During the game’s infancy, the two team captains would work together to resolve and conflict of opinion about any given game. Over time, each team was allowed to designate an umpire to protect the interests of the team, rather than leaving the final say to the two team captains. By 1891 it was evident that an impartial approach was needed to ensure that both teams had an equal opportunity in respecting the rules of the game.
It was at this point that the role of the referee was introduced. From then on, the arbitrator functioned as a neutral third party that resolved conflicts. The former umpires became known as linesmen or assistant umpires. Today it is not unusual for any team to designate an assistant referee who should assist the neutral referee in carrying out his duties.
Boxing also has a referee. In this application, the referee ensures that the two contestants follow the rules applied to the match in a way that is considered within the realm of fair sportsmanship. This may include making sure no punches are thrown that are considered illegal, ensuring that tags are done correctly, and generally ensuring that the flow of the competition is conducted correctly.
Both the American and Canadian versions of soccer make use of the referee. The referee’s authority is considered law during a match. While most games have up to six people who are called referees, the fact is, there is only one official referee. The other people who make up this support network are more properly called head lineman, line judge, back judge, side judge, field judge and umpire.
Umpires are also commonly used in a number of other sports around the world. Such popular offerings as various types of martial arts, Lacrosse, ice hockey, and cricket all look to umpires as the final authority when it comes to judging the fairness of any given play or individual player’s behavior.