Assignment of referees to football games is an important problem faced in professional football leagues. Despite its importance, the problem has received limited academic attention. This paper presents a model and analysis of the problem for fair referee assignments, and develops a constructive heuristic and a local search procedure for its solution. Results from an extensive computational study show that the methods are effective in solving the problem in a second of computation time and yielding an excellent solution quality. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.