A referee is the person of authority, in a variety of sports, who is responsible for presiding over the game from a neutral point of view and making on the fly decisions that enforce the rules of the sport. The official tasked with this job may be known, in addition to referee, by a variety of other titles as well (often depending on the sport), including umpire, judge, arbiter, arbitrator, linesman, commissaire, timekeeper or touch judge. The term referee originated in association football. 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.
Contributions by C.Fred, Daveb, and 188.8.131.52.