Referee-player interaction : co-construction of game play

- Researchers involved : ACTé : G. Rix-Lièvre, M-J. Biache, M. Récopé, M. Grimonprez (study engineer)

- Partners : La Poste, Auvergne Regional Council, French Football and rugby federatins – PERF Arbitrage

- Project summary: Our interest in the interaction between players and the referee originates in the alternatives conception of refereeing we have constructed, considering that the referee co-constructs game play with the players. This research operation examines the levers and obstacles to this co-construction. We study the conditions that allow referees and players to work together despite a confrontational situation and different -or even anatgonist

The rules of the game place referees in a favourable hierarchical position with respect to players: they have power and the obligation to make judgements, in doing so, they show what is possible and impose it on the players. However, asymmetry should not be considered an explanatory factor of the interaction between the referee and players. 1) We study the processes that allow referees to effectively construct their position with respect to the players. While, at the start of each match, according to the rules of the game, referees are placed in a position of authority, it is through interaction that they construct their effective position with respect to the players. 2) We also examine the means of co-construction of game play. More particularly, we study the role of the increased manifestation of certain contextual elements and the importance or lack thereof of sharing of signification between referees and players regarding what referees show. To do this, we study refereeing and players during high-level matches. A variety of activity traces are produced, in particular wide-angle videos of the match from a camera worn by referees. A number of interviews are also held: a subjective on-site interview with the referee and self-confrontation interviews with 4/5 players per match.

This project falls directly within area 2 of the ACTé research laboratory examining how people in a favourable hierarchical position show and impose themselves effectively or not.

- ACté