I've never heard or read "The referee called foul" in a football (soccer) context, whether at a match, in a newspaper, on the radio or on the television.The referee called foul and sent him off.
A "foul" (noun) is an action by a player. It is not something that the referee gives a player.Excuse me, can I use "give a foul"?
The referee gave a foul.
This is AE usage. I have not yet got a clear picture of how it all works for each sport in AE and BE. (For example, in basketball, it is possible to say “Team A has a foul to give” but that’s completely different from a foul in soccer.)A "foul" (noun) is an action by a player. It is not something that the referee gives a player.
The phrase "The referee called a foul on Thomas" means that the referee (after stopping the game) announced that Thomas had committed a foul. The referee might then "give" Thomas a penalty for the foul, or "give" Thomas' team a penalty.