The Referee and Match Official Research Network is designed to bring together academics and others interested in the development and associated research concerning the match official within a variety of sports. The network aims to bring together scholars, policy makers and interested parties from a variety of disciplines in order to develop a greater understanding of the experience, operational climate, and coordination of match officials within national organisations and across transnational boundaries.

The lead academic of this research group is Dr Tom Webb. Please see Tom's profile page for further details and his Pure Profile for publications.

Three themes

  • Working environment and operation conditions for match officials.
  • Development and performance across organisational and societal cultures.
  • Leadership, management and coordination of match officials.

Our members

Dr Thomas Webb

Media ready expert

Dr Thomas Webb

  • Email Address Thomas.Webb@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
Professor Richard Thelwell

Professor Richard Thelwell

  • Email Address Richard.Thelwell@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
Dr Mike Rayner

Dr Mike Rayner

  • Email Address Mike.Rayner@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
Dr Chris Wagstaff

Dr Chris Wagstaff

  • Email Address Chris.Wagstaff@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
Dr Matt Dicks

Dr Matt Dicks

  • Email Address Matt.Dicks@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
Professor Barry Smart

Professor Barry Smart

  • Job Title Professor of Sociology
  • Email Address Barry.Smart@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Education and Sociology
  • Faculty Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr Adam Cox

Dr Adam Cox

  • Job Title Principal Lecturer
  • Email Address Adam.Cox@port.ac.uk
  • Department Economics and Finance
  • Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
Dr Paul Gorczynski

Dr Paul Gorczynski

  • Email Address paul.gorczynski@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Sport Health and Exercise Science
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health

Collaborators

  • Dr Jamie Cleland – University of South Australia
  • Dr Jimmy O’Gorman – Edge Hill University
  • Dr Matt Smith – University of Chichester
  • Manuel Armenteros - University Carlos III of Madrid, Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication
  • Dr Géraldine Rix-Lievre - Blaise Pascal University
  • João Aragão e Pina - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE)
  • Dr Mohsen Loghmani - Shafagh Institute of higher Education, Iran
  • Dr Denise Hill - Swansea University

Research students

  • Dane White - MPhil/PhD - When is an advantage an advantage? Referees and the use of the advantage in association football, analysing the impact of probability
  • Lee Markham - MRes - Talent Identification and Development of Football Referees
  • Chris Horton - MPhil/PhD - Modelling Umpire Development in Grass-roots Field Hockey

Industry contacts

  • Hampshire Football Association
  • Rugby Football Union (RFU)
  • French Football Federation (FFF)
  • Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB)
  • The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • The Football Association (FA)
  • The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

Book in preparation

Webb, T., Cleland, J., O’Gorman, J. & Rayner, M. (Due 2019). Referees, match officials and abuse: Research and Implications for Policy. London: Routledge.

Recent publications

Conference presentations

Webb, T. (2017). North American Society for Sports Management. Oral presentation. Violence in the workplace? Analysing soccer referee experiences and abuse through a longitudinal lens.

Sport and Social Justice (Political Studies Association). Oral presentation.
Cultural Leadership of Elite Association Football Referees. (2016).

North American Society for Sports History. Oral presentation.
A Career in Football Refereeing: W. P. Harper and the Beginnings of Mass Media Attention. (2015).

First International Conference on the Science and Practice of Sports Refereeing. Oral presentation. (2014).
Standardising Elite Association Football Refereeing: An Historic Problem, no Easy Solution

North American Society for Sports History. Oral presentation.
"The official game": the connected emergence of the referee in association football, rugby union and American football. (2014).

European Sociological Association. PhD conference and workshop. Fully funded application process.
"Open your eyes ref!" Can the old clichés be discarded? Elite association football refereeing: a comparative analysis of England and Spain. (2011).

North American Society for Sports History. Oral presentation.
"Under pressure": Elite association football referee responses to systemic and structural changes. (2011).

Invited presentations

  • Manchester Metropolitan University. Research Presentation. (22/06/17).
  • Blackburn Rovers Football Club. (27/02/2015).
  • University of Caen. Research Symposium. (23/05/2016).
  • University of Chichester. Research Presentation. (14/10/16).

Public media engagement

BBC 5 Live Daily (23/12/2016) – Invited contribution to programme on football referee abuse

BBC Sport Website (06/11/2016) – Report on research

BBC 5 Live Investigates (06/11/2016). - Contribution to programme on research related to Umpire Experiences and Abuse in cricket

Skysports (06/11/2016) – Report on research

The Telegraph (06/11/2016) – Report on research

BBC World Service, World Football Show (22/01/2016) – Guest on Programme: Discussion of research

Daily Mail (2016) Report on research

BBC Hereford & Worcester (25/01/2016) - Discussion of research

ITV.com (2016) – Report on research

BT.com (2016) – Report on research

Yahoo.com (2016) – Report on research

BBC Radio Lincolnshire, (22/01/2016) - Guest interview about research

BBC South Today (24/01/2016) – Live discussion of my research about football referees.

BBC 5 Live Investigates (06/12/2015). - Contribution to programme on research related to Referee Abuse in football and the Respect campaign

Times Higher (2015) - Survey into abuse of football referees, conducted by Dr Tom Webb for UoP in conjunction with Edge Hill and Loughborough Universities, featured in an article

BBC Radio Solent (07/12/2015) – Guest interview

The Telegraph (21/03/16) – Report using the research

The Telegraph (22/03/16) – Report using the research

The Telegraph (22/03/16) – Report using the research

The Telegraph (20/07/16) – Report using the research

The Telegraph (21/07/16) – Report using the research

The Times (24/02/2015) - Contribution to article about football refereeing and media pressure.

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