Rationale: Sport management literature offers only limited research about the reasons for the cessation of match officials. As a result, practitioners and academics have called for further investigation into the area. In response, this paper explores match official perceptions of support and abuse in rugby union and cricket in England. Design/methodology/approach: Match officials in rugby union and cricket operating at all levels of their sports were surveyed. In total 1,228 surveys were completed, presenting a real-life representation of current experiences. Findings: Results revealed that 49 percent of rugby union and 45 percent of cricket match officials experienced abuse at least twice every season, and 51 percent of rugby union and 47 percent of cricket match officials believed that abuse has increased, whilst match officials identified concerns with the training and support provided. Practical implications: This paper provides insights into the perceptions of support and abuse of match officials in rugby union and cricket. Given the findings, there is a requirement for the management/support structures assisting match officials to be re-evaluated by governing bodies. Research contribution: This is the first empirical paper on abuse and support of match officials in rugby union and cricket. This paper advances our understanding about the challenges faced by match officials in sport.
- interorganisational support