BILL Eaton continues to provide a light-hearted insight into life as a referee in his weekly column.

This week he talks about officials and their roles during games.

I ALWAYS told my team of officials on Chairman's and Player's Cup Final days in the Bolton, Bury and District Football League, that the best team of the three, must be wearing black.

It's very important the trio of officials all work together to control the game. This has to start well before the kick off, with the officials turning up looking very smart and doing a pitch inspection in their suits in front of the players and coaches.

This is a great opportunity to introduce themselves to the players and coaches.

Then when they have changed, go out for a warm up again, in front of the players.

This helps sell not only team work, but also professionalism and dedication to players, coaches and parents.

So before they go out again for the game, the match referee will find out who is his senior assistant, they will generally control the dugouts and keep a full match record.

He will then give his match instructions to his assistants. Having done this many times as a referee and assistant it has almost never changed.

It's all down to credibility and selling your decisions.

Throw-ins: The pitch is split into three. Your third, which is the defensive third where the assistant is patrolling, goes down to the assistant making the call.

My third which is furthest away from the assistant, which will be down to me as the referee. Good eye contact third, which is in between, good eye contact and a little signal to each other, help you both signal the same way.

Offsides: Always down to the assistant unless he has fallen over.

Free-kicks: Referees will look to their assistants to help make decisions on free kicks in their area of the pitch.

Plus the assistant is vital in advising the match referee if the foul is inside or outside the penalty area.

Penalties – referees will always look to control the major decision as they will have to deal with the player reactions.

Goal kicks: Assistant to watch the placing of the ball by the defensive player.

Mass confrontations: Never happened in my time as a referee or as a assistant, but as the referee he will deal with the two opposing players first while his assistants will come onto the pitch to watch for misconducts, each assistant watching one team.

Hopefully, if it all works out, we will all have a great game.