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Current trends indicate the number of qualified sports officials continues to dwindle. Therefore, this research sought to better understand reasons for initial entry, continuation, and potential discontinuation with officiating, while also identifying problematic issues, and potential solutions. Content analysis was utilized to examine five open-ended online survey responses from 2,485 referees. The results indicate that Enjoyable Affiliation (58%) and Remuneration (14%) were key to referees becoming involved in officiating. Those two themes, Enjoyable Affiliation (75%) and Remuneration (14%), were also identified as important to retaining officials. Physical Limitations were mentioned by 58% of the respondents regarding why they plan to discontinue. In terms of the most problematic issues, referees most frequently indicated Abuse (42%) and Administrative Issues (20%). Lastly, findings suggest the best ways to recruit and retain officials are to Provide Mentors and Training (32%), Market to Young People (23%), and Increase Pay (19%). Practical implications and strategies that include attracting more women, underrepresented ethnicities, and young people into sports officiating are provided.


Global Sport Business Association

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Global Sport Business Journal