Law 5 - Referees
A referee shall be appointed to officiate in each game. His
authority and the exercise of the powers granted to him by the
Laws of the Game commence as soon as he enters the field of play.
His power of penalizing shall extend to offenses committed
when play has been temporarily suspended, or when the ball is out
of play. His decision on points of fact connected with the play
shall be final, so far as the result of the game is concerned. He
- enforce the Laws.
- refrain from penalizing in cases where he is satisfied
that, by doing so, he would be giving an advantage to the
- keep a record of the game; act as timekeeper and allow
the full or agreed time, adding thereto all time lost
through accident or other cause.
- have discretionary power to stop the game for any
infringement of the Laws and to suspend or terminate the
game whenever, by reason of the elements, interference by
spectators, or other cause, he deems such stoppage
necessary. In such a case he shall submit a detailed
report to the competent authority, within the stipulated
time, and in accordance with the provisions set up by the
National Association under whose jurisdiction the match
was played. Reports will be deemed to be made when
received in the ordinary course of post.
- from the time he enters the field of play, caution and
show a yellow card to any player guilty of misconduct or
ungentlemanly behavior. In such cases the referee shall
send the name of the offender to the competent authority,
within the stipulated time, and in accordance with the
provisions set up by the National Association under whose
jurisdiction the match was played. Reports will be deemed
to be made when received in the ordinary course of post.
- allow no person other than the players and linesmen to
enter the field of play without his permission.
- stop the game if, in his opinion, a player has been
seriously injured; have the player removed as soon as
possible from the field of play, and immediately resume
the game. If a player is slightly injured, the game shall
not be stopped until the bass has ceased to be in play. A
player who is able to go to the touch- or goal-line for
attention of any kind, shall not be treated on the field
- send off the field of play and show a red card to any
player who, in his opinion, is guilty of violent conduct,
serious foul play, the use of foul or abusive language,
or who persists in misconduct after having received a
- signal for recommencement of the game after all
- decide that the ball provided for a match meets with the
requirements of Law 2.
Decisions of the International F.A. Board
- Referees in international matches shall wear a blazer or
blouse the color of which is distinct from the colors
worn by the contesting teams.
- Referees for international matches will be selected from
a neutral country unless the countries concerned agree to
appoint their own officials.
- The referee must be chosen from the official List of
International Referees. This need not apply to amateur
and youth international matches.
- The referee shall report to the appropriate authority
misconduct or any misdemeanor on the part of spectators,
officials, players, named substitutes or other persons
which take place either on the filed of play or in its
vicinity at any time prior to, during, or after the match
in question so that appropriate action can be taken by
the authority concerned.
- Linesmen are assistants of the referee. In no case shall
the referee consider the intervention of a linesman if he
himself has seen the incident and from his position on
the field, is better able to judge. With this reserve,
and the linesman neutral, the referee can consider the
intervention, and if the infomation of the linesman
applies to that phase of the game immediately before the
scoring of a goal, the referee may act thereon and cancel
- The referee, however, can only reverse his first
decision so long as the game has not been restarted.
- If the referee has decided to apply the advantage clause
and to let the game proceed, he cannot revoke his
decision if the presumed advantage has not been realized,
even though he has not, by any gesture, indicated his
decision. This does not exempt the offending player from
being dealt with be the referee.
- The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games
should be played with as little interference as possible,
and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize
only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling
for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling
and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils
the pleasure of spectators.
- by para. (d) of Law 5 the referee is empowered to
terminate a match in the event of grave disorder, but he
has no power or right to decide, in such event, that
either team is disqualified and thereby the loser of the
match. He must send a detailed report to the proper
authority who alone has power to deal further with this
- If a player commits two infringements of a different
nature at the same time, the referee shall punish the
more serious offense.
- It is the duty of the referee to act upon the infomation
of neutral linesmen with regard to incidents that do not
come under the personal notice of the referee.
- The referee shall not allow any person to enter the
field until play has stopped, and only then if he has
given him a signal to do so, nor shall he allow coaching
from the boundary lines.
- The coach may convey tactical instructions to players
during the match. The coach and other officials, however,
must remain within the confines of the technical area*
where such an area is provided and they must conduct
themselves, at all times, in a responsible manner.
- In tournaments or competitions where a fourth official
is appointed, his role and duties shall be in accordance
with the guide-lines approved by the International
Football Association Board.
Footnote: For top-level football, the technical area
may be defined in terms of the length of the bench plus one meter
at each side of the bench, and the area in front of the bench up
to one meter parallel to the touchline.
1992 Memorandum - Advice to Referees:
The specific reference to the yellow and red cards reinfoces
that these cards are mandatory items of equipment for all
referees at all levels of competition. These references will
assist the referee in dealing with situations that warrant the
issuance and display of mandatory cards.
[Rules.] [Law 4:
The Players' Equipment.] [Law 6: The