Background The number of football referees in the United Kingdom has significantly declined over recent years (The F.A, 2011).
Objective Previous research has indicate that conflict is an importnat factor in referees leaving the game and impact on their personal health and wellbeing (Dell, Rhind & Gervis, 2013). This study evaluates a training programme which aims to develop referee's ability to manage conflict during matches. It is intended that this research will inform The F.A.'s drive to retain referees.
Design Mixed methods design with two groups used.
Setting The aims of the workshop were for the individuals to develop self-awareness of their own referee behaviour; to use conflict management stratergies to help them referee more effectively and to enhance their practical refereeing skills.
Participants Trainee referees participated in this study; Group A (experimental) and Group B (control). Both genders were represented (Group A M=19 F=1/Group B M=18 F=2) aged from 14->55 years of age.
Intervention Group A undertook a new specifically designed conflict managment and resolution workshop for referees as part of their basic referee training course. Group B completed the normal training programme.
Main outcome measurements Both groups completed a pre-workshop questionaire based on their training and how they felt they had dealt with conflict during their 6 training games as a referee. The questionaire employed both likert-type scales and qualitative questions. Upon completion of the training programme both groups completed a post-workshop questionaire.
Results Results from the post-workshop questionnaires for Group A indicate a significant imporvement in their ability to manage conflict relative to Group B. The significance for Group A in managing conflict was still present 3 months later.
Conclusions This workshop has had a direct impact on how referees deal with and handle conflict.