Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Sports officials - abuse, aggression and maltreatment in personal and online settings
    Inter-relationships in sport - officials, parents and participants
    Mental health and well-being of sports officials
    Career development of sports officials
    Governance and management of sports officials

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile


    Dr Tom Webb is an expert in the global management, leadership, operational environment and working practices of sports officials. Dr Webb has published extensively on the subject of sports officials, including two books and over 40 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Tom leads the Referee and Sports Official Research Network, based in the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS). 

    Since 2016, Tom has been successfully awarded over £1.35m of funding for research, impact and consultancy as PI or Co-I from a range of sources, including the UEFA Research Fund, European Commission, Quebec Ministry of Education, Canadian Institute of Health Research, The Football Association, Sport Northern Ireland, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. Tom’s research has been disseminated at a variety of international and national conferences and has published widely in a peer-reviewed journals including European Sport Management Quarterly, Sport Management Review, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and the European Journal of Sport Science.

    Tom's research also includes a book published in 2020 entitled Referees, Match Officials and Abuse: Research and Implications for Policy and a book on the subject of elite referees in football entitled, Elite Soccer Referees: Officiating in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A (published in 2017). Along with editorial colleagues, Tom has another book due for release in July 2024, Managing and Developing Sports Officials: Officiating Excellence. Tom has worked with a significant number of high-profile sporting organisations from aroudn the world such as UEFA, The Premier League, The English FA, Dutch FA (KNVB), French FA (FFF), Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Rugby Football Union (RFU), Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Rugby Football League (RFL) and World Netball.

    In addition to his research, Tom contributes extensively across national and international media platforms including ESPN, BBC TV, BC 5 Live, SkySports, TalkSport, ITV, the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian, amongst other outlets.

    Research Interests

    Tom's research interests concern the role of match officials in sport. Specifically, Tom founded the Referee and Match Official Research Network and has been awarded grants and funding from agencies such as UEFA, the Premier League, World Netball and the European Commission.

    Alongside football in both the UK and around the world, the research focus has considered other sports such as rugby union, rugby league and cricket, all of which have generated very strong national media coverage on topics such as the erosion of values in sport. Tom's research has also resulted in changes to policy, with some of the research conducted on cricket utilised to assist in changing the laws of the game across the world.

    Tom's recent research has focused on violence, aggression and abuse towards sports officials, the mental health and wellbeing of sports officials from a global perspective and the careers, recruitment and retention of sports officials. Tom is involved in a number of internationally funded research projects in these areas.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


    Dive into the research topics where Tom Webb is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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