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  • Edge Hill study looks into abuse suffered by referees

    Malcolm Hindle

    RESEARCH conducted by lecturers at three UK universities, including Edge Hill, shows that 60 per cent of football referees questioned experienced abuse every couple of games with as many as one in five facing physical abuse!

    The study - carried out by Jimmy O’Gorman from the Ormskirk university along with Jamie Cleland of Loughborough University and Tom Webb from the University of Portsmouth - questioned referees about their experiences following the introduction of the Respect programme by the English Football Association (FA).

    Of more than 2,000 officials questioned, including 370 under-17s, more than 22% said they suffered abuse every game.

    They reported abusive behaviour from parents, spectators and coaches, making them feel anxious and vulnerable and leaving them fearing physical harm.

    Many also commented on how the leniency shown on offensive or abusive language and/or gestures at elite level had negative consequences for grassroots referees.”

    The full report will be published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport and available on the journal’s website.

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