Referees' Decision Making Behavior and the Sport Home Advantage Phenomenon

GP Lovell, Ross Newell, John Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


The aim of this investigation was to examine the decision making behavior of soccer officials (referees) in English Premiership matches to establish whether a bias, as perceived by the media and professional players, does or does not exist. Using notational analysis, this investigation used three trained professional soccer referees to assess the decisions made by match-day officials in favor of home and away teams during the entirety of ten-matched Premiership soccer fixtures. Results revealed a non-significant trend, x2 = .843, p > .05, where the number of decisions awarded by the referees favored the home team. However, significant differences were observed in the number of contentious and incorrect / missed decisions awarded in favor of the home teams compared to away teams, χ2 = 4.17, p < .05 and χ2 = 3.86, p < .05, respectively. Conclusions from this investigation indicate that soccer referees exhibit bias in favor of home teams and suggest that referee decision making behavior may be one mechanistic explanation of the home advantage phenomenon in soccer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalResearch in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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  • 2014
  • behavioral sciences 2
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  • geoff p lovell
  • home advantage
  • home advantage has been
  • no
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  • rpbs-2-1-1
  • soccer
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  • the sport home advantage


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