The Effectiveness of Soccer Referees and Coaches with Respect to the Laws of the Game
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The first aim of this study was to look into the effectiveness of soccer referees and coaches with respect to the 'Laws of the Game' through decision-making. Observing 106 player-to-player tackle incidents, referees (N=6) and coaches (N=7) were asked to provide an 'agree' or 'disagree' decision with the decision made and the sanction provided by the in-game referee. A reliability study using Cohen’s (1960) kappa statistics was conducted to assess the variability within interpretations of decisionmaking. It was found that both groups had a 'poor strength of agreement', though both, referees (0.811) and coaches (0.814) had very high proportion of agreements with the 'reality' of the decision made by the in-game referee. The proportion of agreements with the 'reality' of the sanction given by the in-game referee was also high, referees (0.762) and coaches (0.768). It was concluded that though coaches have slightly higher proportion of agreements than referees, coaches have a greater variability within their results, so they are interpreted as not as consistent with one another or the 'Laws of the Game'. The final purpose of the study was to explore whether Mascarenhas, Collins and Mortimer’s (2005) key performance demands that are inherent within elite rugby union refereeing can be transferable to refereeing demands within association football. All four components; 'law knowledge and application', 'contextual judgement', 'personality and game management' and 'fitness and positioning' have been found to influence the decision-making of both coaches and referees. All four components make the interpretation of the 'Laws of the Game' complex and subjective.
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