Player perceptions of fairness in football referee communication in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain and the UK.

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Abstract

Referee communication styles influence player perceptions of fairness, reactions to negative decisions, and the quality of football. A quasi-experimental between-subject study of football (soccer) player reactions to different referee communication behaviors was conducted in Australia (n=675), Great Britain (n=365), Malaysia (n=153), Spain (n=537) and Singapore (n=166). Adult male football players read vignettes describing a scene from a match where a negative decision is unexpectedly awarded against them. The age of the referee, and referee displays of anger and explanation were manipulated. The dependent variables were the effects on player perceptions of the fairness of the referee, the correctness of the decision, and players' intention to argue the decision.Explaining the negative decision had a significant (p<0.01) positive effect on player ratings of the fairness of the referee, and the correctness of the decision in each country except Malaysia. Anger in the referee's communication had a significant negative effect (p<0.01) on player ratings of the fairness of the referee in each country, except Singapore where there was no significant effect (p<0.1). Anger in the referee's communication had a significant negative effect on player ratings of the correctness of the decision in Great Britain (p<0.05) and Malaysia (p<0.01), but not in the other countries (p<0.05). Neither explanation nor anger had a significant effect on player intentions to argue. The findings suggest some differential effects internationally, but that players of the world game will generally react more favorably to referees who explain decisions and communicate calmly. Implications for referee training are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISSP 12th World Congress of Sport Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationMeeting new Challenges and Bridging Gaps in Sport and Exercise Psychology
EditorsAbderrahim Barra
Place of PublicationMarrakesh
PublisherInternational Society of Sport Psychology
PagesCD
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventWorld Congress of Sport Psychology - Marrakesh, Morocco
Duration: 17 Jun 200921 Jun 2009

Conference

ConferenceWorld Congress of Sport Psychology
Period17/06/0921/06/09

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