The COVID-19 outbreak has affected life around the world. As countries react to the pandemic through various measures impacting upon the civil liberty of citizens, football has not been immune to these interventions. Football around the globe has been interrupted, from professional lea- gues to grassroots and youth football, whilst attempts to restart the game have been problematic and complicated. Amongst all of the attempts across the world to restart professional leagues or identify when any level of football might be restarted are the referees, essential to any resumption of football. This commentary considers the role of referees in any restora- tion of football at professional, grassroots and youth level, the challenges and opportunities that might present themselves to FIFA, UEFA and other confederations and the national Football Associations (FA), as the COVID- 19 pandemic continues to impact football globally.