Respect? An investigation into the experience of referees in association football

We are pleased to share recently published research by Football Collective members, Dr Jamie Cleland, Dr Jimmy O’Gorman and Dr Tom Webb, in The International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
This article focuses on the response by 2056 football referees across all 51 County Football Associations in England, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey to an online survey conducted from 30 September 2015 to 30 November 2015 regarding their experience of officiating since the implementation of a Respect programme in 2008 by the English Football Association.
In assessing the impact of the programme, whilst 54 per cent of referees felt that it has been some what successful, there remains a need to implement stronger sanctions and show greater support when dealing with cases of misconduct.
Some 60 per cent of referees still experience abuse every couple of games and 19 per cent have experienced some form of physical abuse.
With 42 percent of our sample officiating for less than five years, there is an urgent need for the impact and effectiveness of the programme to be re-evaluated.
An open access version of the research article can be found here.

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