It's hard to believe, but for a long time in football they did without a referee at all. For example, in the middle of the 19th century, English teams, before the start of the game, jointly agreed on the number of players in the composition and the duration of the match. At the time, football was a gentleman's spirit. Controversial issues were resolved jointly, and each player had to learn the rules before entering the field. But, once the student teams of Eaton and Winchester came up with the initiative to allow the so-called "intermediaries" to the matches. One mediator stood at the gates of each team, counted the goals scored and determined the very fact of the goal being scored. True, with an indispensable condition: if the players themselves ask for it.
Gradually, in addition to the mediators, they began to choose one referee for the match, who was outside the field and made decisions in cases where the mediators did not take responsibility for themselves. In 1881, the referee was given the responsibility of deciding whether the ball was scored or not. But, such an innovation took root with difficulty: many football clubs protested, believing that the referee would exert too much influence on the result of the match. At the same time, the referee was still refereeing the match, without leaving the field, he had to be behind the sideline. And the judges began to appear on the field only from 1891, by the way, at the same time they got a whistle, with which he controlled the game. But, if the referee personally made the decision to score a goal or not, then he could punish the player for some violation only if the players turned to him. The powers of the chief arbiter were expanded only in 1896. And the mediators became side judges, but the only thing that was required of them at that time was to fix the ball leaving the field. With the development of professional football, referees even began to receive small fees.
However, with one condition: if the match took place more than 30 miles from the house where the referee lives. By the way, the appearance of a football referee's whistle is connected with an interesting story. Prior to that, the referees gave commands by voice or used a bell. But, at one of the matches, the referee was a policeman. When a fight broke out on the field, he, without hesitation, took advantage of the whistle. The stunned footballers immediately stopped the fight. So the football officials decided that it would be easier for the referee to control the game with a whistle. Despite the fact that it was in the 19th century, the whistle has not yet been replaced with anything else.