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Articles on Referees

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Referee Michael Oliver (in blue) is abused by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during a 2018 Champions League tie. Afterwards, Oliver and his wife were sent abusive emails and texts, including death threats. Cristiano Barni/Shutterstock

Football’s referee crisis: we asked thousands of refs about the abuse and violence that’s driving them out of the game

As Euro 2024 kicks off, the governing body of European football is urgently trying to recruit thousands of new grassroots officials. Is football really in danger of running out of referees?
A decision is referred to the video referee in this year’s game between Melbourne Storm and the Eels, at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne, June 15. AAP Image/Julian Smith

NRL video refs can still make the call even if they’re not at the game

A centralised video ref for next year’s NRL season aims to reduce the dramas surrounding refereeing decisions in the game. But how often do the on-field refs get it wrong?
Webb at the 2010 World Cup final. Just don’t mention Nigel de Jong… EPA

Howard Webb’s new job is to train a generation of super-refs

Howard Webb, one of modern football’s most successful referees, has announced his retirement. Webb achieved much in his career, most notably in 2010 taking charge of the finals of both the World Cup and…

Cut referees some slack, most have done a good job

In a tournament of 64 games, there were bound to be issues of contention, especially in a competition that carries so many national hopes with it. But the general standard of refereeing has been good throughout…
Refereeing could do with the benefit of technology, as long as it doesn’t lose the human element. Nic Bothma/EPA

Drawing the line between video evidence and the ‘spirit of sport’

Sporting referees are worthy of our admiration. Every time they officiate they are required to make split second real-time decisions. Sometimes they get it right – and sometimes they don’t. They are what…

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