Published On: 26/10/2012|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.33 (2012), Vol.33 (3)|


The refereeing system in amateur football is not without weakness. Some referees could be deliberately led to destabilize a match in order to demonstrate their skills in regulating a situation of potential conflict. This has posed an ethical problem to soccer institutions. Our study proposes to focus on this phenomenon by questioning seventy four referees from district or league level living in the North of France. The way in which these sports actors combine different informational cues (physical tiredness, communication, aggression, mark, emotion) when deciding to destabilize a football match was investigated. Equally at the level in which they whistled, two clusters stood out. In the first one, the referees (44.6%) estimated that they would never implement this strategy in any situation. In the second one, the referee (55.4%) judged that they would sometimes use such destabilization particularly in a situation where they communicated with the players, were not physically tired and could obtain an excellent mark from the observer.

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