As a means of pulling together various strands of research that focus on the role of the referee and match official in football, as well as other sports, Dr Tom Webb has recently convened the Referee and Match Official Research Network.

As a member of the Football Collective Tom has recognised the value of collectivity in research and the formation of the network is a further move to develop research in this area. In particular the Referee and Match Official Research Network aims to bring together scholars, policy makers and interested parties from a variety of disciplines and areas in order to develop a greater understanding of the experience, operational climate, and coordination of match officials within national organisations and across transnational boundaries.

Further aims and objectives of the research network currently revolve around three themes, the working environment and operational conditions for match officials, development and performance across organisational and societal cultures and leadership, management and the coordination of match officials.  The promotion of the impact and dissemination of the research which is being conducted, and the projects that are currently underway is an essential aspect of the network. As an evolving research area, particularly from a historical, social science and management related subject base, further engagement outside academic circles is crucial as the research and network coninues to grow. If anyone is interested in being involved in the network, has any ideas for projects, is working on something currently, or perhaps has colleagues or contacts that are involved in research in these areas, please get in touch with Tom (thomas.webb@port.ac.uk). There will be further updates on this research network in the coming weeks/months with further publications, projects and developments forthcoming.

Read more about the research network here: Referee and Match Official Research Network.