How referees cope with the pressure

Football referees are able to cope with the pressures of their role thanks to a belief that they are better at the job than their colleagues, new research has suggested. Being presented today (9 April) at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, the study found Premier League-level match officials view themselves as superior to their peers in much the same way as county-level refs do.

Dr Melissa Anderson and Dr Sandy Wolfson from Northumbria University questioned 11 Premier League officials and 183 from county level and discovered that in both groups, those who were older and more experienced believed themselves to be more accomplished in their role.

Referees at all levels need to feel good about themselves and think of themselves as skillful and hardworking, Dr Anderson explained, adding: "This helps them to cope with the considerable unrestrained, abusive comments about their competence, fitness and even their honesty from the crowd, players, managers and the media."