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The distribution of power through a media campaign: the Respect Program, referees and abuse in association football

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The launch of the Respect Program in 2008 was intended to improve the working environment for referees at all levels of the game. However, eight years since the launch, this article has identified significant issues with the organization and management of the campaign and the verbal and physical abuse to which referees are subjected. Findings are concerned with the experiences of 2056 referees across England, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, who responded to an online questionnaire, and given the emergent themes from the data are linked to a figurational framework through location within Norbert Elias’s Civilizing Process. Findings identify a disenfranchised workforce, an uneven distribution of power and wider issues connected with the very structure of the game itself within England. The article concludes with specific recommendations designed to review and reinvigorate the Respect Program and as a consequence the working conditions for referees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-181
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Global Sport Management
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 26 Jul 2017


  • The distribution of power through a media campaign

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Global Sport Management on [date of publication], available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 324 KB, PDF document

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