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Dr Tom Webb is an expert in the global management, leadership, operational environment and working practices of sports officials. Dr Webb has published extensively on the subject of sports officials, including two books and over 35 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Dr Webb contributes extensively across national and international media platforms including ESPN, BBC TV, BBC 5 Live, SkySports, TalkSport, ITV, the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian, amongst other outlets.


Dr Tom Webb is Course Leader for the MSc Sport Management and a Senior Lecturer in Sport Management. Tom is an Associate Editor for Managing Sport and Leisure, a member of the Editorial Board for Soccer & Society and the Football Collective, a regular reviewer of articles for a wide variety of academic journals and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Tom is founder and coordinator of the Referee and Match Official Research Network which was formed as a result of the widely published research from a variety of disciplinary perspectives on the subject of referees and match officials in sport. In addition to peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, this research includes a book published in 2020 entitled Referees, match officials and abuse: Research and implications for policy and a book on the subject of elite referees in football entitled, Elite Soccer Referees: Officiating in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A (publiished in 2017). Tom has worked with a number of high profile sporting organisations such as UEFA, The Premier League, Dutch FA (KNVB), French FA (FFF), RFU, MCC, LTA, RFL and World Netball.

Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth in 2009 Tom had over five years experience working within the Sport Management and Sports Development sector.

Research Interests

Tom's research interests concern the role of match officials in sport. Specifically, Tom coordinates the Referee and Match Official Research Network and has been awarded grants and funding from agencies such as UEFA, the Premier League, World Netball and the European Commission. 

Alongside football in both the UK and around the world, the research focus has considered other sports such as rugby union, rugby league and cricket, all of which have generated very strong national media coverage on topics such as the erosion of values in sport. Tom's research has also resulted in changes to policy, with some of the research conducted on cricket utilised to assist in changing the laws of the game across the world.

Tom's recent research has focused on violence, agression and abuse towards sports officials and the mental health and wellbeing of sports officials from a global persepctive. Tom is involved in a number of internationally funded research projects in these areas. 

Teaching Responsibilities

Tom is Course Leader for the MSc Sport Management in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science. Tom teaches on the MSc programme and also contrbutes to the undergradaute Sport Management pathway. 

Tom has supervised undergraduate, postgraduate, MRes and MPhil dissertations. Tom also currently supervises Professional Doctorate and PhD research projects in a number of diverse research areas including:

  • The abuse of sports officials
  • Positive mental health and officiating
  • Referees and the impact of the media
  • Referee performance in soccer
  • Talent identification and development of sports officials
  • Cultural comparisions of referee and player behaviour

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

External Examiner, Solent University

1 Sep 202031 Aug 2023

External Examiner, London Metropolitan University

10 Nov 201610 Nov 2020

External Examiner, University of Bedfordshire

19 Jul 201619 Jul 2020


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