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

J Cleland, Jimmy O'Gorman, T Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


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 somewhat 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 per cent 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-974
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number8
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • abuse
  • behaviour
  • culture
  • football
  • Football Association
  • parents
  • referees
  • Respect programme
  • Abuse
  • football association
  • respect programme


Dive into the research topics of 'Respect? An investigation into the experience of referees in association football'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this