William Keay
Intl. since:
Country: Scotland

The friendly match between Scotland and England in 1872 is considered the first ever international football match, which makes William Keay the first ever international referee.

Queen's Park

The match was held a year before Scotland had a proper FA, when not all teams played with the same rules. William Keay belonged to a team called Queen's Park FC which used the Association (read: English) rules. When the Scottish FA was formed William Keay was one of the first referees to take charge of a competition match.

The Scottish national team consisted of Queen's Park FC players only, the only players with experience playing Association rules.

first international match

It was the largest crowd ever: over 4000 spectators "including a number of ladies".
The news papers named two umpires: William Kaey and Englishman C. W. Alcock.


Only from 1891 there was one referee with overall control. Before that time there were two officials called umpires, one from each team. Later on there was a third umpire to help come to a decision when the two disagreed. The third umpire became known as a referee the two umpires became linesmen.
But the umpires were not really in charge, it was up to the team captains to call for fouls.

(source: David Goldblatt: The Ball is Round)

Statistics for WILLIAM KEAY
Totals Home Away Total
Penalties 0 0 0
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 0 0 0
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 0 0 0
Averages Home Away Total
Penalties 0 0 0
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 0 0 0
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 0 0 0

Based on 1 international matches

Date Score Yellow Red Penalties Fouls
ScotlandEngland1872-11-300 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)