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When Refereeing Turns Ugly: Investigating Fans Response to the Spectre of Bias Officiating in Ghana Football


Football is a game of universal appeal. In the middle of the field is the referee who officiate the game guided by rules and regulations. The fallibility of humans means referees at times make questionable decisions leading to what has become topical as referee bias. This study investigated the issue of referee bias and fans response to the phenomenon using qualitative approaches. We reviewed relevant literature from scholarly articles and on referee bias and identified some void in responses to referee bias on the part of fans. We collated data using semi structured interviews by posing open ended questions. A small sample size comprising nine participants was chosen for the study. We found that participants believe referee bias is widespread in Ghana Football. Fans respond angrily to acts of bias officiating with violent behavior ensuing. We also discovered that some fans are dissuaded from attending football matches because of referee bias. We recommend that referees should be trained and re- trained to minimize referee bias whilst sanctioning referees who persists in bias officiating. Security should also be beefed up to give referees some protective cover and also possibly engage in crowd control.    


Referee, bias, home, advantage, officiate, participants, responses

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