Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
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Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2014, 2(1), 1-5
DOI: 10.12691/rpbs-2-1-1
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Referees’ Decision Making Behavior and the Sport Home Advantage Phenomenon

Geoff P Lovell1, , Ross Newell2 and John K Parker2

1School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

2Faculty of Sport, Health & Social Care, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester, UK

Pub. Date: January 17, 2014

Cite this paper:
Geoff P Lovell, Ross Newell and John K Parker. Referees’ Decision Making Behavior and the Sport Home Advantage Phenomenon. Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2014; 2(1):1-5. doi: 10.12691/rpbs-2-1-1


The aim of this investigation was to examine the decision making behavior of soccer officials (referees) in English Premiership matches to establish whether a bias, as perceived by the media and professional players, does or does not exist. Using notational analysis, this investigation used three trained professional soccer referees to assess the decisions made by match-day officials in favor of home and away teams during the entirety of ten-matched Premiership soccer fixtures. Results revealed a non-significant trend, x2 = .843, p > .05, where the number of decisions awarded by the referees favored the home team. However, significant differences were observed in the number of contentious and incorrect / missed decisions awarded in favor of the home teams compared to away teams, χ2 = 4.17, p < .05 and χ2 = 3.86, p < .05, respectively. Conclusions from this investigation indicate that soccer referees exhibit bias in favor of home teams and suggest that referee decision making behavior may be one mechanistic explanation of the home advantage phenomenon in soccer.

home advantage referees soccer decision making

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