Mutual intelligibility among football officials during match

Abstract : Introduction: Rix (2005) adopts a non-normative perspective and methodology in order to understand referee’s activity in naturalistic context. The concept of judgment acts highlights the synthetic cognition of the referee: he shows to - and imposes on - players what is acceptable. More, the referee judgment does not consist in an application of rules to a reality. The rules are a resource. But the referee is a member of a group of officials: the collective aspect of refereeing on pitch has never been studied. Understanding the organizing role of the prescriptions about the task partition (official directives, training recommendations…) is not sufficient to grasp the coordination of the individual unfolding activities. So we investigate the mutual intelligibility (Poizat & al., 2009) among officials in order to determine the way each official contributes to produce judgment acts and what operational procedures enable this contribution in match. Method: We studied 3 games in French professional football championship. We examined the meaning the officials attribute to their own unfolding actions and radio communication. This meaning is implicit: we helped participants to render it explicit (Vermersch, 1999). We realized individual self-confrontation interviews with each official (referee, assistant and replacement referees) after matches: the game video recording allows them to relate to a particular lived-experience. Results: Assistant and replacement referees develop awareness about: - The referee information needs in situ. They focus on the bodily index of doubts the referee shows to make judgments acts. It enables them to provide information for the referee judgment act process at the right moment. - The referee’s tolerance threshold related to the intensity of the opponents’ physical confrontation. So they construct for themselves a compatible threshold to match the referee’s. By taking into account (or not) the information addressed to him to produce judgment acts the referee validate (or not) –tacitly or explicitly– the relevance of the information delivered by his colleagues. Discussion: The construction of mutual intelligibility of game situations is shaped by two interactive procedures: (1) the awareness towards referee activity that the assistant and replacement referees construct; (2) the episodes of regulation in which the referee validates information relevance (Poizat & al., 2009). From their perspective officials act on pitch in order contribute to judgment acts process. This contribution requires officials’ own understandings of the game to be compatible with each other: partly shared and partly specific. References: Poizat G, Bourbousson J, Saury J, & Sève C (2009). IJSEP, 7(4), 465-487. Rix G. (2005). Sci & Mot, 56(3), 109-124. Vermersch P. (1999). Journal of consciousness studies, 6(2-3), 17-42.
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Poster communications
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Contributor : Géraldine Rix-Lièvre <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 2:43:18 PM
Last modification on : Monday, January 8, 2018 - 12:28:01 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01120739, version 1



Simon Boyer, Géraldine Rix-Lièvre, Michel Récopé. Mutual intelligibility among football officials during match. 18th Annual congress of the European College of Sport Science, Jun 2013, Barcelona, Spain. 2013. ⟨hal-01120739⟩



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