Lecture report: The referee's fear of the penalty kick
Justus Heck during his lecture in the VHS Bielefeld. Photo by Thomas Abel
A penalty kick is a very special situation in football, not for only the players, but also for the referees. What makes the situation that special was the question of the presentation by sociologist Justus Heck, he hold on 6 February within the open lecture series Linie 4 at the VHS Bielefeld. Under the heading The referee’s fear of the penalty kick. Towards an interaction sociology of football games he discussed, how the presence of a referee changes the game.
In the beginning Justus Hecks pointed out, that normally the referee himself is seen as frightening and formidable. But also the referee has reasons to fear, last but not least because his decisions can make the game. Moreover the referee's power about the games’ development leads to a different behavior of the players, claimed Heck: They commit more fouls.
Comparison between Wilde Liga and amateur football league
To proof his thesis, Heck compared the behavior of players in the normal amateur football league with players of the “Wilde Liga”, (wild league). Temas in the “Wilde Liga“ organize themselves and play football games without a referee involved. If a player thinks that he he was fouled, he only has to tell it. If the player who probably committed the foul do not agree, other players that stood next to the situation are asked to make a decision. That means, every player also is a referee.
In the normal amateur league, the referee has the power for decisions. So the players don't have any longer the chance and power to decide about fouls. They can ask the referee for decision or express they they have a different view, but they have no influence on the decision itself. Since the referee decides about the game – start, end, goals, fouls and minor details, the teams play in first instance for him and his decisions. That leads to more competition between the teams, says Justus Heck. For the players it becomes very important to show fouls. On the other side the players can break rules without any effect, if the referee does not notice the fouls. In the Wilde Liga, this unfair situation cannot occur, because everybody is a referee.
The audience of the lecture "the referee's fear of the penalty kick".Photo by Thomas Abel
Teams play for the referee
During the the discussion with the audience the question was discussed, if football teams prepare themselves for the referee in particular - for example if they are told by their coaches that it is okay for a certain referee to tackle harder. Also the question was raised why players question the referees’ decisions in the first place, although they will never be corrected afterwards. The answer of Justus Heck: To increase the referee’s fear for the next decision against the same team.
End of the Open Lecture Series Linie 4
With the presentation by Justus Heck, the open lecture series Linie 4 came to an end for the winter term 17/18. Seven doctoral researchers from the BGHS presented their topics from history and sociology. From Consumption and national modernization in China, Persecution and recommencement: Yezidi women in Germany, and finally to the referee’s fear of the penalty kick, the lecture series discussed a broad variety of topics, which can be seen as an example for the variety of doctoral research projects at the BGHS.
The lecture series Linie 4 is organized by the doctoral researchers of the BGHS and takes place every winter term at the VHS Bielefeld. The dates and topics of the next series will be announced in summer 2018.
For further information to the past lecture series and the programme please see:
uni.aktuell (in German)
Interview with Theresa Hornischer at campus radio station Hertz 87.9(in German)
Interview with Marcus Carrier at campus radio station Hertz 87.9 (in German)
#Campusminute with Theresa Hornischer (in German)