The Referee, Assistant Referees And The Fourth Official Essay
This study investigated how officials (the referee, assistant referees and the fourth official) in English football were/have been portrayed in newspapers, between 17 October 2015 to 17 January 2016. Only Premier League teams were analysed but included their matches in other domestic competitions (The FA Cup and The Capital One Cup).
When one (or both) Premier League teams were competing in a cup competition the match was recorded, however when neither team was a Premier League club, the match article was ignored.
Only cup matches involving Premier League teams were analysed; including two Premier League teams in a cup competition, or one Premier League and one non-Premier League team in a cup competition (however two non-Premier League teams were ignored).
Two broadsheet newspapers (The Times and The Guardian) and two tabloid newspapers (The Sun and The Mirror) were selected for this study. A total of 200 newspaper articles (n=200) were collated and analysed, with 116 of these articles acknowledging the referee. The 84 articles that did not acknowledge the referee were recorded, but for the purposes of the notational analysis, could/were not be classified as ‘positive’, ‘negative’, ‘neutral’ or ‘technical’. These articles featured in broadsheets and tabloids and included match reports and editorials.
From the 116 articles that did acknowledge the referee, there were an equal number of articles recorded from broadsheet and tabloid newspapers (58). This…