FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game: Match Officials FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game: Match Officials
The authority of the referees Each match is controlled by two referees, the referee and the second referee, who have full authority to enforce... FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game: Match Officials

The authority of the referees

Each match is controlled by two referees, the referee and the second referee, who have full authority to enforce the Futsal Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which they have been appointed.

Powers and duties

The referees:

  • enforce the Futsal Laws of the Game
  • control the match in cooperation with the assistant referees, where applicable
  • ensure that any ball used meets the requirements of Law 2
  • ensure that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of Law 4
  • keep a record of match incidents
  • stop the match, at their discretion, for any infringements of the Futsal Laws of the Game
  • stop the match because of outside interference of any kind
  • stop the match if, in their opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensure that he is removed from the pitch. An injured player may only return to the pitch after the match has restarted
  • allow play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in their opinion, only slightly injured
  • ensure that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the pitch. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referees, who must be satisfied, either directly or through the third referee, that the bleeding has stopped
  • allow play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed stands to benefit from such an advantage and penalise the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time
  • punish the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time
  • punish the more serious misconduct when a player commits more than one act of misconduct at the same time
  • take disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences. They are not obliged to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play
  • take action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at their discretion, expel them from the technical area and the surrounds of the pitch
  • ensure that no unauthorised persons enter the pitch
  • indicate the restart of the match after it has been stopped
  • give the signals described in the section entitled “Referee and Assistant Referee Signals”
  • position themselves on the pitch as described in the sections entitled “Positioning with ball in play” and “Positioning in ball out of play situations”, which are part of the “Interpretation of the Futsal Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (Law 5 – The Referees), when they are required to do so
  • provide the appropriate authorities with a match report, which includes information on any sanctions imposed on players and/or team officials and any other incidents that occurred before, during or after the match

The referee:

  • acts as timekeeper and third referee in the event that the assistant referees are not present
  • suspends or abandons the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the Futsal Laws of the Game
  • suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind

The second referee:

  • replaces the referee in the event that he becomes injured or indisposed

Decisions of the referees

The decisions of the referees regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.

The referees may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at their discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that they have not restarted play or terminated the match.

The decisions of the referee prevail over those of the second referee if both signal an infringement and there is disagreement between them.

In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve the second referee or the assistant referees of their duties, arrange for them to be substituted and make a report to the appropriate authorities.

Responsibilities of the referees

The referees (or where applicable, the assistant referees) are not held liable for:

  • any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator
  • any damage to property of any kind
  • any other loss suffered by any individual, club, company, association or other body, which is due or which may be due to any decision that they may take under the terms of the Futsal Laws of the Game or in respect of the normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match

Such decisions may include:

  • a decision that the condition of the pitch or its surrounds or that the weather conditions are such as to allow or not to allow a match to take place
  • a decision to abandon a match for whatever reason
  • a decision as to the suitability of the accessories and equipment used during a match
  • a decision to stop or not to stop a match due to spectator interference or any problem in spectator areas
  • a decision to stop or not to stop play to allow an injured player to be removed from the pitch for treatment
  • a decision to require an injured player to be removed from the pitch for treatment
  • a decision to allow or not to allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment
  • a decision (where they have the authority) to allow or not to allow any persons (including team or venue officials, security officers, photographers or other media representatives) to be present in the vicinity of the pitch
  • any other decision that they may take in accordance with the Futsal Laws of the Game or in conformity with their duties under the terms of FIFA, confederation, member association or league rules or regulations under which the match is played

International matches

A second referee is mandatory for international matches.

Reserve assistant referee

In tournaments or competitions where a reserve assistant referee is appointed, his role and duties must be in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the Futsal Laws of the Game.

The authority of the assistant referees

Two assistant referees may be appointed (a third referee and a timekeeper) who must perform their duties in accordance with the Futsal Laws of the Game. They are positioned off the pitch, level with the halfway line and on the same side as the substitution zones.

The timekeeper remains seated at the timekeeper’s table, while the third referee may perform his duties either seated or standing up.

The timekeeper and the third referee are equipped with a suitable chronometer and the necessary equipment to keep a record of accumulated fouls, which is supplied by the association or club under whose jurisdiction the match is being played.

They are provided with a timekeeper’s table in order to perform their duties correctly.

Powers and duties

The third referee:

  • assists the referees and the timekeeper
  • keeps a record of the players taking part in the match
  • monitors the replacement of balls at the request of the referees
  • checks the substitutes’ equipment before they enter the pitch
  • records the goalscorers’ numbers
  • informs the timekeeper of a request for a time-out when a team official makes one (see Law 7 – The Duration of the Match)
  • gives the mandatory time-out signal once the timekeeper has sounded the acoustic signal, to inform the referees and the teams that the time-out has been granted
  • keeps a record of the time-outs requested
  • keeps a record of the accumulated fouls by each team signalled by the referees in each period of play
  • gives the mandatory signal that one team has committed five accumulated fouls in a period of play
  • places a visible sign on the timekeeper’s table to indicate that a team has committed five accumulated fouls in one period of play
  • records the names and numbers of any players cautioned or sent off
  • hands a document to the officials of each team before the start of each period of play with which they can request time-outs and collects it at the end of each period if none have been requested
  • hands a document to the officials of each team which indicates when a substitute can enter the pitch to replace a player who has been sent off
  • under the referees’ supervision, checks the entry of a player who has left the pitch to correct his equipment
  • under the referees’ supervision, checks the entry of a player who has left the pitch due to an injury of any kind
  • signals to the referees when an obvious error has been made in cautioning or sending off a player or if an act of violence has been committed out of their field of vision. In any case, the referees decide on any facts connected with play
  • supervises the conduct of the persons situated in the technical area, if any, and on the benches and informs the referees of any inappropriate behaviour
  • keeps a record of stoppages in play because of outside interference and the reasons for them • provides any other information relevant to the game
  • positions himself on the pitch as described in the sections entitled “Positioning with ball in play” and “Positioning in ball out of play situations”, which are part of the “Interpretation of the Futsal Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (Law 5 – The Referees), when he is required to do so
  • replaces the second referee in the event that the referee or second referee becomes injured or indisposed

The timekeeper ensures that the duration of the match complies with the provisions of Law 7 by:

  • starting the chronometer after a kick-off has been taken correctly
  • stopping the chronometer when the ball is out of play
  • restarting the chronometer after play has been correctly resumed after a kick-in, a goal clearance, a corner kick or kick-off, a free kick, kicks from the penalty mark or second penalty mark or a dropped ball
  • recording the goals, accumulated fouls and periods of play on the public scoreboard, if available
  • indicating a team’s request for a time-out with a different whistle or acoustic signal from the one used by the referees, after the third referee has informed him
  • timing the one-minute time-out
  • indicating the end of the one-minute time-out with a different whistle or acoustic signal from the one used by the referees
  • indicating the fifth accumulated foul by a team with a different whistle or acoustic signal from the one used by the referees, after the third referee has informed him
  • times a player’s two-minute expulsion
  • indicates the end of the first half, the end of the match or the end of the periods of extra time, if any, with a different whistle or acoustic signal from the one used by the referees
  • positions himself on the pitch as described in the sections entitled “Positioning with ball in play” and “Positioning in ball out of play situations”, which are part of the “Interpretation of the Futsal Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (Law 5 – The Referees), when he is required to do so
  • performs the specific duties of the third referee in the event of the latter’s absence
  • provides any other information relevant to the game

International matches

For international matches, the presence of a third referee and a timekeeper is mandatory.

For international matches, the chronometer used must incorporate all the necessary functions (precise timekeeping, a device to time the two-minute expulsion of four players simultaneously and monitor the accumulation of fouls by each team during each period of play).