1st Edition

Referees, Match Officials and Abuse Research and Implications for Policy

    142 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    142 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores issues related to the abuse of referees and match officials in sport. Drawing on original empirical research in football, rugby union, rugby league and cricket, it provides an insight into the complexities involved in the recruitment, retention and development processes of match officials from across the global sports industry.

    Using an evidence-based approach, the book examines why abuse occurs, the operational environments in which match officials operate, and underlying issues and trends that cut across sports and therefore can be linked to wider societal trends. It challenges global sport policy and discusses the development of an inclusive, cohesive and facilitative environment for match officials, players, coaches and spectators to ensure the future provision of global sport.

    Referees, Match Officials and Abuse is an invaluable resource for all students, scholars and national governing bodies of sport with an interest in match officials, sports governance, sport policy, sport management and the sociology of sport.

    List of figures

    List of tables



    1. Introducing and defining match official abuse. 

    2. Examining abuse: The importance of governing bodies in sport. 

    3. Organisational culture, non-reporting of abuse and discontinuation: Implications for match officials and administrators. 

    4. Facilitating a positive environment: The role of resilience, mental fortitude and conflict management when supporting match officials.

    5. The importance of policy and the need for mental health interventions and support. 

    6. The experience of match officials outside England. 

    7. Evidencing good practice and tackling abuse.


    Tom Webb is Course Leader for the MSc Sports Management and Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Development at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He is also founder and coordinator of the Referee and Match Official Research Network.

    Mike Rayner is Associate Head (Education) at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Mike is a Fellow of The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Sports Management and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

    Jamie Cleland is Senior Lecturer in Sport and Management at the University of South Australia. His research explores a range of social issues in sport.

    Jimmy O’Gorman is Senior Lecturer in Sports Development, Management and Coaching in the Department of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill University, UK.

    "The purpose has been to investigate why judges are physically and verbally attacked and insulted, what the abuse and attacks look like, and in what contexts they occur. In addition, they have the ambition to present a program of measures that can reduce the incidences of these attacks."

    -Bo Carlsson, Department of Sport Sciences, Linnæus University, idrottsforum.org