The English Football Association's Respect Campaign: the referees' view

Jamie Cleland, JIMMY O'GORMAN, Matthew Bond

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

23 Citations (Scopus)


Through semi-structured interviews with 11 practising referees registered to one English County Football Association (FA), this article examines their experiences of officiating since the English FA implemented a Respect Campaign in 2008. Despite this high-profile public information campaign focusing on the role of the referee, the results outline that little has changed for those officiating at the youth and adult grassroots level. Referees highlight continuing verbal and physical abuse and argue that County FAs need to demonstrate greater levels of support towards them when dealing with cases of misconduct. Overall, the article illustrates that whilst the Respect Campaign remains a relatively new initiative, it requires further proactive development and improvements due to the unwelcome experiences that remain for referees when officiating matches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-563
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number4
Early online date24 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


  • Football Association
  • Respect Campaign
  • behaviour
  • football
  • grassroots
  • referees


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