Study finds that short referees hand out more red and yellow cards to players


A study has shown that short referees hand out more red and yellow cards to players.

Scientists analysed the data for 61 male referees in the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two, and came to the conclusion that short officials are more inclined to dish out cards.

The study, published in BMC Psychology, found that refs who are less than 6ft show around 20 per cent more yellow cards than those who are taller.

Experts believe the 'Napoleon complex' - or Small Man Syndrome - may be in place, where shorter men compensate for their height by being more aggressive.

Dr Nick Neave led the study at Northumbria University.

They concluded: “Shorter referees issued more yellow cards and, in lower leagues, more reds and penalties.

“This reflects referees overcompensating for a lack of perceived dominance.”

Aston Villa v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Data from the 2017/18 season was taken.

The average Premier League referee was 5ft 10in and gave out three yellows per game.

Jon Moss, 5ft 7in, was above the average by handing out 3.7 yellow cards a game.

In his last Premier League campaign, Mike Jones, 5ft 8in, showed 3.6 per game.

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City - Premier League

But Graham Scott, 6ft tall, only gave out 2.4 yellows each game.

More red cards were handed out by shorter officials in the lower divisions.

Researchers think this may be due to League One and Two players showing less respect to a smaller referee and therefore being punished more.

“Because shorter males may lack dominance, they behave more punitively than would be expected,” the researchers added.

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