Interpretation and application of the laws of the game in football incidents leading to player injuries

Bart Gilis, Matthew Weston, Werner F. Helsen, Astrid Junge, Jiri Dvorak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined the need for an improvement in the refereeing standard to reduce the incidence of player injuries during football matches. The FIFA refereeing department determined a reference decision for 60 player-to-player contact incidents from the 2002 World Cup. This reference was compared with the decision of the match referee. All incidents were also assessed by 4 expert panels (i.e. players, coaches, medical staff and referees). For each incident they had to express the appropriate sanction (nonfoul, foul, yellow or red card). The FIFA reference decision indicated that the Laws of the Game are adequate for the majority of situations (70%). The match referee's decision was in agreement with the reference in 57% of the incidents. The level of agreement between the referees' panel and the reference (60%) was higher than with any other panel. Post-match disciplinary procedures based on video replays are discussed to better deal with foul play endangering the safety of the players.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-138
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Sport Psychology
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


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