Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Blowing the Whistle: The Psychology of Football Refereeing book launch

Events article section heading

Blowing the Whistle: The Psychology of Football Refereeing book launch

Venue: Waldegrave Drawing Room
SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedin

The football referee is charged with controlling the players and enforcing the laws of the most popular and passionate game on the planet, they are often alone and always outnumbered.  They ply their trade in the face of competitive athletes and a partisan crowd, all desperate to sway judgments in their favour.  Along with players and coaches, they are the only people who can influence the results of a football match, yet despite such importance, there are many questions:

  • Are referees influenced by the crowd?
  • Do referees favour the home side?
  • Do ‘big name’ players and managers get treated differently?
  • Are referees arrogant?
  • Why would anyone want to be a referee?
  • Do we really trust the referee?
  • Do we neglect the mental health of referees?
  • How can a referee prepare psychologically for a game?

In Blowing the Whistle: The Psychology of Football Refereeing, these questions, and more, are answered.

Meticulously researched and written by leading authority Stuart Carrington, a multitude of views from the terraces, the media, academic studies, and referees themselves are brought together to bust myths and shine a light on the misunderstood, rarely appreciated, and often vilified individuals who are central to the beautiful game.  Vital lessons from psychology are explored to make sure no stone is left unturned finally understanding: what is it really like to referee a football match?

“Referee performances are shrouded in a world of perception.  This wonderful book gives an insight into the decision making process and an in depth look at officiating.  It should be read by all stakeholders in the game to achieve a better understanding of the role of the referee.  It turns perception into reality and should be read by every referee around the world.  It is without doubt the best book that I have read on officiating.” 

Keith Hackett, former FIFA Referee 1981-1991, former PGMOL General Manager, Author ‘You are the Ref’.

About the Author

Stuart is a Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science at St Mary’s University and has a background in football coaching.  He holds an MSc in Applied Sport Psychology and the primary certificate in Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy.  His main research area to date is that of irrational beliefs and the impact of emotions on sports performance.

This book launch signals the start of a continued series of lectures, seminars and research into sports officiating to be held at St Mary’s University.

Guest Speakers and Panel

Christophe Ridley: A member of the elite group of Premiership Rugby Match Officials, Christophe is the youngest referee operating at this level.  His development has continued to see him officiate at European competitions.

Tony Dean: Tony is a football referee with over 30 years of experience, including officiating matches in the Football League and Premier League as a fourth official.  Upon retiring from refereeing at this level in 2004, Tony has been involved in the training and administration of football officials and since 2016 has been an FA affiliated Referee Tutor. 


Free to attend but please register due to room capacity.


For more information about this event please contact

Subscribe to our news and events mailing list for information about upcoming events at St Mary's.