IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Evidence of referees' national favouritism in rugby


  • Lionel Page

    () (Westminster and Cambridge)

  • Katie Page

    () (London)


The present article reports evidence of national favouritism from professional referees in two major sports: Rugby League and Rugby Union. National favouritism can appear when a referee is in charge of a match where one team (and only one) is from his country. For fear of the risk of such favouritism, such situations are avoided in most major sports. In this study we study two specific competitions who depart from this national neutrality" rule: the European Super League in Rugby League (and its second tier competition) and the Super 14 in Rugby Union. In both cases we find strong evidence that referees favour teams from their own nationality, in a way which has a large influence on match results. For these two major competitions, the Super League and the Super 14, we compare how a team performs in situations where the referee both shares their nationality and in situations where the referee comes from a different nationality. We also analyse referees' decisions within matches (such as penalty and try decisions) in a Rugby League competition, the Championship (second tier below the Super League). In both Rugby League and Rugby Union we find strong evidence of national favouritism.

Suggested Citation

  • Lionel Page & Katie Page, 2010. "Evidence of referees' national favouritism in rugby," NCER Working Paper Series 62, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:auncer:2010_09

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ryan Rodenberg, 2013. "Employee Discipline And Basketball Referees: A Prediction Market Approach," Journal of Prediction Markets, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 7(2), pages 43-54.
    2. Rodenberg Ryan, 2011. "Perception ? Reality: Analyzing Specific Allegations of NBA Referee Bias," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-13, May.
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Jan Sauermann, 2016. "Referee Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 679-695, September.

    More about this item


    Rugby league; Rugby Union; favouritism;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qut:auncer:2010_09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (School of Economics and Finance). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.