What does the Center Referee do in Soccer?

The center referee puts the soccer game on their shoulders. Without them, soccer would be unruly and unfair. They’re the ones responsible for calling the game justly and unbiasedly.

The center referee has full authority over the match and makes all decisions regarding fouls and rule violations. They’re assisted by the two assistant referees and, in professional matches, the fourth official. The center ref is the only one with a whistle and is the only official who can stop the game.

The center referee can be a difficult and stressful job at any level of play. Let’s look deeper into their rules and responsibilities and how the other referees assist them during games.

What does the center referee do in soccer?

The center referee maintains the laws of the game and makes decisions based on those rules. What exactly do they do?

The center referee controls the match and has full authority over players, coaches, and other match officials. They are the decision-makers regarding fouls and other rule violations. The center referee is ultimately responsible for all decisions, although both assistant referees and the fourth official help make calls.

The center referee, or simply “referee,” moves up and down the field following the ball. They position themselves in the middle of the field close to the play but far enough away that they aren’t hindering the ball or any players.

The referee’s job is to call the game fairly and unbiasedly. They facilitate the coin toss between the teams’ captains before the game starts to decide which will kick off or who will defend which side.

The center referee is the only referee with a whistle and is the only one who can formally bring the game to a stop. They’re the only ones who can administer players a yellow or red card.

What are the center referee’s duties in soccer?

The center referee’s duties on the soccer field are to manage the game fairly for both teams. Their duties during the match reflect official soccer laws.

The center referee is responsible for calling fouls and rule violations from both teams during a match. The referee keeps track of time and maintains a fair game in cooperation with the three other match officials. The center ref is responsible for facilitating the coin toss before the game and ensuring starters wear proper gear.

What does the center referee do in soccer?

The center referee is the main referee in soccer. They move around the entire field, following the play from a distance.

The referee adheres to the laws of the game and has full authority over the match; they can overrule any decisions made by the assistant referees. They ensure the game does not go over the allotted time limit.

The referee blows their whistle for fouls, handballs, offside, and injuries; they must stop the game for any of these reasons.

The other types of soccer referees

The center referee is not the only referee during a soccer game. There are two other types of referees, but what are they?

The other types of soccer referees are the assistants and the fourth official. The assistants are the two sideline officials who run along either touchline; each is in charge of one-half of the field. The other is the fourth official, generally seen in professional games. They’re in charge of stoppage time management and substitution protocol.

The other types of referees are essential for calling a fair match. The center ref can’t see everything happening simultaneously; this is where the other three referees come in handy.

Assistant referee

The assistant referee is another type of soccer official. Their responsibility is to help the center referee and are responsible for making calls in areas of the field where the center ref can’t see.

Assistant referees, also known as “linesmen” or “sideline officials,” are the ones on the side of the field who run with flags in their hands. The flag is used to signal calls to the center referee. These calls can be anything from out-of-bounds to fouls.

An assistant referee standing on the sideline holding a flag.

The assistant’s job is to help the center referee make decisions they otherwise can’t see from the center-field point of view. They ensure the ball is placed properly on corner kicks and goal kicks. They position themselves in line with the ball.

The fourth official

The fourth referee stands on the sideline and does not move around the field. They aren’t commonly seen outside professional play, but some college games use fourth officials.

The fourth referee is in charge of substitution protocol, ensuring players coming onto the field are properly equipped and not bearing illegal equipment like jewelry or footwear. They advise the center ref when a team wants to make a substitution and when coaches or bench players violate rules.

A fourth official holding an electronic board signaling a substitution during a soccer game.

The fourth official’s job is to alert the center referee if coaches or bench players violate the game’s rules, including foul language toward any match officials.

The fourth official won’t make any calls, but they will tell the center referee what happened.

At professional levels, the fourth official helps with VAR or “video assistant refereeing.” VAR allows referees to correct wrong decisions made during the run of the play or any they missed in the first place.

How much does the center referee run in soccer?

The average professional soccer referee runs 6-8 miles throughout a game.

How old do you have to be to be a center ref in soccer?

A professional center referee must be 25 years old or older. Assistant refs must be at least 23. Youth referees must be 13 years old or older.

How much does a FIFA center ref get paid?

Center referees at the 2022 FIFA World Cup made $3,000 per group-stage match and $10,000 for playoff games.

Sean Tinney

I’m Sean Tinney, a lifetime soccer player and Ball At Your Feet owner. This website is a hub for practical soccer advice, information, and insights from one player to another.

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