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Dr Thomas Webb

Senior Lecturer

Thomas Webb


Dr Tom Webb is an expert in the management, leadership, operational environment and working practices of match officials and referees in sport. 

He is available for media interviews. He has previously been featured on national and regional media, including BBC 5 Live, SkySports, TalkSport, the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian.


Dr Tom Webb is Course Leader for the MSc Sports Management and a Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Development. 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, including a book due to be 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. Tom has worked with a number of high profile sporting organisations such as UEFA, The Premier League, the MCC and the International Netball Federation (INF).

Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth in 2009 Tom had over five years experience working within the Sports 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, and the INF.

This research focus has extended to consider 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.  

Teaching Responsibilities

Tom is Course Leader for the MSc Sports Management and also teaches on the Sports Management and Development programme at undergraduate level in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science.

Tom has supervised undergraduate, postgraduate, MRes and MPhil dissertations and research projects in a number of diverse research areas including:

  • Referees and the impact of the media
  • Referee performance in soccer
  • Talent identification and development
  • Cultural comparisions of referee and player behaviour
  • The impact of the Olympic bid process on potential host cities

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