It is an expected appointment. A tradition. Since 2007, the Arbitration Days, scheduled this year from November 18 to 29 and sponsored by former basketball international Boris Diaw, shed light on an essential function of sport, amateur and professional, but too often criticized. “Without them, no sports”, the slogan is now well known and seems perfectly integrated.
During the traditional study commissioned by La Poste, a partner of the event, 1,000 individuals aged 15 and over were surveyed to obtain their opinions on the role of the referee. Long criticized, it seems to see its image rekindled with the younger generations. According to this Kantar poll in September, 54% of French people are interested in the referee. The figure climbs to 64% for 15-24 year olds. A figure up 13% compared to last year’s study.
For 94% of those questioned, the arbitrator is at the service of everyone. 90% answer that it is useful to all. 89% consider that it contributes to the general interest. Custodian of the authority of the game, it is 95% a guarantor of the rules and an essential player for good sportsmanship. Another important data which clearly shows the change in the public’s view of the referee, 93% of respondents recognize in him a passionate.
In addition, 94% of those questioned say they are in favor of a feminization of the function. First woman to referee a Ligue 1 match (Amiens-Strasbourg, April 28, 2019), Stéphanie Frappart may have launched a new wave and provoked vocations among young dismissed. The native of Herblay (Val-d’Oise) undoubtedly broke down certain barriers by proving that the function was not reserved for men.
The man – or the woman therefore – with the whistle represents above all authority (94%), competence (92%) and confidence (90%). If each whistle, each decision, immediately provokes reactions, 87% of French people recognize that the role of referee is more and more difficult. Player behavior is an essential cog “to the smooth running of a match” for 85% of respondents.
Finally, another lesson, VAR, video assistance in arbitration, often criticized since its launch in 2018 by the players in the game, is a good innovation for the people questioned. 91% believe that it “helps to avoid mistakes”.