Experiences of female football referees: using the lack of fit model to explore gender stereotypes in football in England

Laura Joanne Grubb*, Thomas Webb, Mike Rayner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Women in Sport explored women’s experiences and identified that 38% of women encountered gender discrimination and 30% of women had experienced inappropriate behaviour from the opposite sex in the workplace. Issues related to sexism and gender discrimination are still present for women within association football. Football referees play an integral role in organised matches; however, refereeing is still dominated by men with 27,451 male referees compared to 1,718 female referees in England. Using the lack of fit model, this chapter explores the experiences of female football referees and discusses the support they have received throughout their careers. Semi-structured interviews were employed, and data were analysed through deductive thematic analysis. This study identified that female referees require ongoing support with their training, including female-only referee courses, and require better facilities at matches. Female mentors and female role models are recommended to help retain and recruit female referees and support their ongoing professional development. Gender stereotypes need to continue to evolve within football to ensure that female referees are accepted within football.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Issues in Football: A Sociological Analysis of the Beautiful Game
EditorsWill Roberts, Stuart Whigham, Alex Culvin, Daniel Parnell
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003253990
ISBN (Print)9781032183091
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameCritical Research in Football


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