What’s a ref?

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Sports use umpires or referees to enforce rules, make judgments, and keep score. Baseball, softball, cricket, and tennis all have umpires. In baseball and softball, umpires are referred to by their position on the field. Cricket has two umpires, and tennis has a chair umpire and line umpires. American football has an umpire who observes the offensive and defensive lines. Other sports that use umpires include field hockey, Australian rules football, and sailing.

Most sports employ people who referee during competitions, enforcing all rules, making judgments, keeping track of score or results, and performing other duties as needed. In some sports, such as baseball, softball, cricket and tennis, these officials are known as umpires. American football also has an umpire among the many umpires that are usually used during games.

Baseball e Softball

In baseball and softball, each of the umpires is called an umpire, or “ump.” Umpires are more specifically referred to by their position on the field, such as home plate ump, first base ump, or third base ump. Most games use at least two referees. At higher levels of baseball, such as in the professional leagues, three or four umpires are typically used. In some games, such as those in the championship series, as many as six umpires might be used, including two in the outfield, one down the left field line and another down the right field line.

A home plate ump’s primary job is to call balls and strikes on fields. The umpires also call base runners safe or put out, determine whether batted balls are fair or foul, and make other judgment calls. Their other duties include enforcing the rules of the game, monitoring player attendance and lineups, and ensuring that scoring is kept fairly.


There are two umpires in most cricket matches, although some matches might use up to four. The pitcher’s end umpire stands directly behind the pitcher – which is like a pitcher in baseball – and the striker’s umpire stands next to the batter. Cricket umpires judge the bowler’s deliveries and whether the batsmen are out. Their duties also include announcing the end of each over – similar to an innings in baseball – and enforcing the rules of cricket.


In tennis, officials positioned outside the court are called umpires. The chair umpire sits in an elevated chair near the net in center field, is the final authority on all judgment calls, and announces the score during the game. Line umpires stand off the court, near walls or fences, and judge whether balls land inside or outside the lines and whether a player has committed a foot fault by stepping on the service line while serving. In local and amateur matches, only one chair umpire might be used, but other matches, such as those in professional tournaments, might also use up to nine line umpires. For some tournaments, the person who is in charge of all judges is called the head judge.

Football americano
Games in American football typically use two to seven officials, depending on the league and level. In advanced leagues, such as those for college and professional teams, one of these officials is an umpire. This officer’s main job is to observe the offensive and defensive lines and call penalties, such as illegal holdings and blocks, although he may also make other decisions or judgments if necessary. The umpire is usually located near center field, a short distance from the defensive linebackers, or behind the offense’s backfield, depending on the particular rules used and the playing situation.
Other sports
Other sports that use umpires include field hockey, Australian rules football and sailing. Field hockey typically uses two umpires during competition, and Australian rules football uses four. In sailing, the umpires in the boats follow the racing boats and check that all the rules are followed.

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