Umpire vs Referee
If you live in a commonwealth country, you must have seen a cricket match either live or on TV. You know that there are two officials who give decisions on dismissals of batsmen while keeping an eye on no balls, wides and run outs. These two gentlemen, who keep on standing for the duration of the match, whether it is a 20-20, ODI or a test match, are known as umpires surprisingly, there is a third umpire also, who gives his verdict on a dismissal when the field umpire cannot make up his mind on LBW or a run out. If you also happen to love soccer, you must have seen a person who officiates in the game, running with a whistle in his mouth and a flags in his other hand. This gentleman is called a referee, and not an umpire. In fact, apart from baseball and cricket, nearly all other sports have referees. Why are these two different names for gentlemen who are arbitrators in a game, and what are the differences, if any?
In old times, it was a common practice for captains of rival teams in a game of football to consult with each other in a bid to resolve a dispute. Eventually both captains brought along their own partisan umpire. This meant that captains could concentrate on the game and umpires from both sides quarreled with each other in case of disputes. Later, another official by the name of referee was added to the game to implement the rules and to oversee the disputes. As this was the person both captains and umpires referred to, he was called a referee.
While umpires in cricket and baseball wear full trousers, referees wear the same clothing as the players and thus appear on the field in T-shirts and shorts. While an umpire in the game of cricket is a rather sober person who keeps smiling, a referee in a game of soccer is seen to be an agitated person who runs along with the players to keep an eye on fouls and always in a state of readiness to show different flags. His whistle blows and the game comes to a standstill as he indicates the foul. Though both umpires and referees pass judgments, an umpire mostly stands at a place while the referee keeps on running all the time.
If one looks up dictionary, he finds that both umpires and referees are described as arbitrators. In fact, you would find that umpire has been given as a synonym for referee. While there is not much of a difference in the roles and responsibilities of the two officials, the reason why we have both umpires and referees has got to do with calling the game soccer in the US, while calling it football in many other countries, especially Asia.
In tennis, there are line judges, umpires and also a referee. While players can find fault with the decision of field umpires, referees decision is accepted as final and he seems to have authority in this matter.
Difference Between Umpire and Referee
• Apart from cricket and baseball in which we have umpires, most other games seem to have referees
• Both referees and umpires have same roles and responsibilities though umpires seem to pass on more judgments than referees who are more concerned with fouls.
• Some games like tennis have both umpires and referees.
• These days even a game of cricket has got referees.