When was the Fourth Official introduced in football ?

The International Football Association Board introduced the fourth official in 1991, as a replacement for any of the match officials if one of them couldn’t continue. However, their role also entailed overseeing substitutions, maintaining order in technical areas and assisting the referee.

The Fourth Official

Jon Moss (left) talks with his assistant Eddie Smart and with the fourth official via his earpiece before awarding a penalty to Tottenham. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

What does the Fourth Official do?

  1. Before the match 
  • Checks that only the team’s manager and staff are in the technical area, and remind them they must stay there during the match and act responsibly.
  • Reminds them that only one person can give tactical instructions.
  • Reminds the doctor not to enter the pitch without the referee’s permission.
  • Makes sure all the electronic boards or another communication devices are in place
  • Checks the pressure of all replacement balls and provides the replacement balls on the instruction of the referee.
  1. During the match
  • Assists the referee, maintains eye contact with other referees.
  • Keeps a full record of the game, includes details of players booked or sent off.
  • Controls the electronic board.
  • Monitors the doctor’s entrance to the pitch.
  • Informs the referee of any irresponsible behaviour, including:
  • Disputes with referees, assistant referees, opponents or members of the opposition’s technical area.
  • Any abusive, insulting, offensive actions or threatening language.
  • Informs the referee of any verbal abuse or other serious misconduct.
  1. After the match 
  • Enables the supervision of the players and officials through the tunnel area to the dressing rooms, and takes action if any incident occurs.
  • Assists the referee in preparing the full match report: misconduct, substitutions, etc
  • Submits a report about any misconduct or similar incident out of the referee and the assistants’ view


How much do Fourth Officials get paid?

In England, a Fourth Official in Premier League can earn a whopping £70,000 per year (including match fees), they can easily bank a five-figure sum per year. However, more commonly in the lower divisions, they usually only earn £130 per match in League One (3th division) or League Two (4th division). In the National League (5th division) or lower, the Fourth Official earns less than £110.


The unsung heroes

Being a Fourth Official is hard work and unless working in the top divisions, they still do not get the salary and the attention that they deserve. Their salary is still lower than other officials in the football world and very very few of them become famous. Because of that, we should pay more attention to the Fourth Officials – the unsung heroes of football. ❤️

The Fourth Official


(This post is not original and contains referrals from other sources)


Author: Kuyet @ TrophyRoom 

Image sources: SQAF, TheGuardian




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