Referee and Match Official Research Network
Find out how we're exploring the experiences, operational climate and coordination of referees and match officials
The Referee and Match Official Research Network brings together academics, sports official industry professionals and policy makers interested in the research, insight and development of sports officials around the world.
Research and insight is coordinated and conducted from a variety of disciplines and with numerous partners and collaborators in order to develop a greater understanding of the experience, operational climate, and management of sports officials within national and international organisations and across transnational boundaries.
The network brings together scholars, policy makers and interested parties from a variety of organisations in order to develop a greater understanding of the experience, operational climate, and coordination of match officials within national and international organisations and structures.
To date, sports organisations that have collaborated and been involved in the network in a variety of ways are, UEFA, KNVB (Dutch FA), FFF (French FA), Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Surrey County Football Association, Kent County Football Association, The Referees' Association, Ontario Soccer (Canada), Football Victoria (Australia), The International Netball Federation, the Rugby Football League, Sports Officials UK (SOUK), European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE).
The lead academic of this research group is Dr Tom Webb – please see Tom's profile page for further details.
The network deals with 3 main themes
- Working environment and operation conditions for match officials.
- Development and performance across organisational and societal cultures.
- Leadership, management and coordination of match officials.
Abuse is not a zero-sum game! The case for zero tolerance of match official physical and verbal abuse
Dawson, P., Webb, T. & Downward, P. (accepted for publication, January 2021), European Journal of Sport Science
An analysis of soccer referee experiences in France and the Netherlands: abuse, conflict, and level of support
Webb, T., Dicks, M., Thelwell, R., van der Kamp, J. & Rix-Lievre, G. (February 2020), Sport Management Review, 23 (1), 52-65
Gorczynski, P. & Webb, T. (July 2020), Managing Sport and Leisure
Grubb, L. J., Webb, T., & Rayner, M. (2023). Experiences of female football referees: using the lack of fit model to explore gender stereotypes in football in England. In W. Roberts, S. Whigham, A. Culvin, & D. Parnell (Eds.), (1st ed.), Routledge
Gorczynski, P., & Webb, T. (2021), Soccer & Society, 22(6), 655-662
Pearson, A., Webb, T., Milligan, G., Dicks, M., & Barrow, C. (2022), Managing Sport and Leisure
Loghmani, M., Cuskelly, G. & Webb, T. (accepted for publication, November 2020), Sport Management Review
Lima, Y., Devran, S., Öz, N. D., Webb, T., & Bayraktar, B. (2022), Science and Medicine in Football
Webb, T., Gorczynski, P., Oftadeh Moghadam, S. & Grubb, L. (February 2021), The Sport Psychologist
Mojtahedi, D., Webb, T., Leadley, C., & Jones, M. (2022), European Sport Management Quarterly
Lima, Y., Devran, S., Webb, T., & Bayraktar, B. (2022), Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
No crowds, no home advantage in football during the COVID-19 season: are crowds able to manipulate all but the best referees’ behaviour?
Nevill, A., Pearson, A. W., & Webb, T. (2022), Journal of Global Sport Management
Downward, P., Webb, T., & Dawson, P. (2023), Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Webb, T., Rayner, M., Cleland, J. & O'Gorman, J. (2020), London: Routledge
Webb, T., O'Gorman, J. & Markham, L. (2021), European Sport Management Quarterly
Webb, T. (2022), Soccer & Society, 23(4-5), 400-410
Webb, T. (May 2020), Soccer & Society
Webb, T. (2022), In K. Bandyopadhyay (Ed.), COVID-19 and the Soccer World (1st ed., pp. 12-18). Routledge
For more details on the work of the network – including a full list of publications and media coverage for our work, visit our external Research Portal via one of the buttons below.
- Dr Jamie Cleland – University of South Australia
- Dr Jimmy O’Gorman – Edge Hill University
- Manuel Armenteros - University Carlos III of Madrid, Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication
- Dr Géraldine Rix-Lievre - Blaise Pascal University
- Dr Mohsen Loghmani - Shafagh Institute of higher Education, Iran
- Dr Denise Hill - Swansea University
- Professor Paul Downward, Loughborough University
- Professor Graham Cuskelly, Griffiths University, Australia
- Professor Alan Nevill, University of Wolverhampton
- Dr Peter Dawson, University of East Anglia
- Dr Ian Cunningham, Ontario Tech University, Canada
- Dr David Hancock, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
- Dr Jacob Tingle, Trinity University, United States of America
Completed research students
- Lee Markham (MRes) – 'Talent Identification and Development of Football Referees'
- Ignacio Aliende Povedano - 'Data science applied to the analysis and improvement of football referee's careers and federation policies'
Current research students
- Robyn Bate - 'Understanding barriers and facilitators to mental health among English football referees'
- Matthew Parry - 'Development of emotion regulation and emotional intelligence in officials'
- Alastair Pearson – 'An International Comparative Analysis of Netball Umpire Preparation and Performance'