Any game that has rules must also have in place ways of enforcing the rules as well as a system of punishing offenders to instill a sense of seriousness in the game. Being a full contact game that involves direct contact among opposing team members, it is very important to put guidelines to ensure that players do not get overboard in the course of a game. For this reason, soccer is played under the full watch of several officials to ensure fairness and to maintain the integrity of the game. Among the most prominent officials in a soccer game are the central referee and the two lines men.
Other than these three, there are several other officials who watch the proceedings from outside the pitch, their main role is to verify that the officials in the pitch are exercising fairness in whatever decisions they take in the course of the game. These officials include the match commissars among others. Their main role is to resolve any disputes that may crop up because of the decisions made by the main officials in the field.
How do the officials manage the game at any time during play? The central referee is in charge of the whistle and calls on any fouls or changes in the course of play. He must however keep in constant coordination with his two colleagues operating the touchlines. A soccer pitch is very wide and the ball can swiftly move from one end of the pitch to the next in seconds. It might not be very easy for all the referees to follow the ball to every corner it goes. For this reason, the two officials operating the touchlines assign themselves to different halves of the pitch. They also have to run on opposite wings on the different halves i.e. if the first one is on the right of the pitch the other must run along the left of the pitch concentrating on the remaining half. The central referee is then supposed to run diagonally in the pitch covering the alternate areas to the ones being manned by the lines men.
This means that if the linesman is on the left of the pitch the central referee will run more to the right of that half of the pitch and will be crossing to the other half in the same stile thus concentrating on the side that has no linesman.
The main reason behind this pattern is to keep the ball close to at least one official at any given time and to reduce the distance covered by the officials in order to prevent exhaustion. In order to manage this job of officiating, the officials must be very fit and flexible to run with the players for the full duration of the game. This calls for the officials to undergo training similar to soccer training drills to keep up to the pace. Lastly, it is very crucial to get your judgment right as an official since a slight mistake in the officiating of a game has changed the fate and outcome of man matches. It is a very sensitive job that could expose one to the wrath of the fans. Such a situation can even result in an official’s death.