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The term referee originated in association football (soccer). Originally the team captains would consult with each other in order to resolve any dispute on the pitch. Eventually this role was delegated to an umpire. Each team would bring their own partisan umpire allowing the team captains to concentrate on the game. Later, the referee, a third "neutral" official was added, this referee would be "referred to" if the umpires could not resolve a dispute. The referee did not take his place on the pitch until 1891, when the umpires became linesmen (now assistant referees). Today, in many amateur football matches, each side will still supply their own partisan assistant referees (still commonly called club linesmen) to assist the neutral referee appointed by the governing football association.
Main article: Referee (football)
An association football (soccer) match is presided over by a referee, whom the Laws of the Game give "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" (Law 5). The referee is assisted by two assistant referees, and sometimes also by a fourth official.
Main article: Official (American football)
An American football referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game and has the final authority on all rulings. He is assisted by six other officials on the field.
A basketball referee is the highest official in a game. He is assisted by either one or two umpires, although umpires are generally accepted to have the same authority as the referee and therefore they are collectively known as the officials or sometimes, misleadingly, the referees.
Main article: Referee (boxing)
Main article: Match referee
In cricket, the match referee is an off-field official who makes judgements concerning the reputable conduct of the game and hands out penalties for breaches of the ICC Cricket Code of Conduct. On-field decisions relevant to the play and outcome of the game itself are handled solely by on-field umpires.
Main article: Official (ice hockey)#Referee
Rugby union and Rugby league
A tennis referee is an off-court official.
Referees typically wear clothing to distinguish themselves from the players. Such uniforms may be distinctive, and some traditional uniforms have come to be symbolically associated with the position (even if newer, alternative uniforms are increasingly used). Notable examples include the traditional black uniform worn by association football referees, or the vertical black and white stripes worn by referees in many North American sports.
- A referee can refer to those charged with the reviewing of a submission in the process of peer review.
- A referee can also be a person who provides a reference for a person as part of a job application or similar process.
- Referees were the judicial officers primarily responsible for administration of bankruptcy law in the US prior to the enactment in 1978 of the Bankruptcy Code
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