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Implications and Opportunities for Sport Management Education in the COVID-19 Era

Mike Rayner and Tom Webb

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected in three patients from the city of Wuhan, China. By January 2020, COVID-19 was declared a widespread pandemic creating a global health crisis, resulting in millions of people contracting the virus and thousands losing their lives. Alongside the wide-reaching health crisis, the impact of COVID-19 had significant economic and societal effects leaving a historical legacy, which will affect countries throughout the world for a considerable period of time. As COVID-19 spread around the globe, the way people socialize, work, and study essentially changed forever. Therefore, this essay provides an insight into the rapid process that universities across the globe undertook to transition their teaching operations online. Projects and pedagogic reviews that traditionally would have taken months or years to devise were compressed into days, as the pandemic necessitated that traditional concerns about online teaching were cast aside. Consequently, this essay discusses these new educational platforms in sport management education and their future role in developing professionals who will be at the forefront of an unprecedented industry growth in the years and decades after COVID-19.

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Mental Health Symptoms of Amateur Association Football Referees: A Cross-Sectional Study

Yavuz Lima, Sergen Devran, Tom Webb, and Bülent Bayraktar

Although referees who officiate in the amateur football leagues are exposed to various stressors that can negatively affect their mental health (MH), little is known about their MH symptoms. The purpose of the study was to evaluate MH symptoms of referees who officiate in the Turkish amateur football leagues. An online survey was sent to all referees in the Turkish amateur football leagues (n = 4,900) incorporating standardized scales assessing depression, anxiety, and stress. A total of 1,279 referees participated in the study. Female referees reported higher depression (p < .01) and anxiety (p = .02) scores than males. Younger referees (23–27 years) reported higher depression (p = .01) and anxiety (p < .01) scores than older (>38 years) referees. Results showed that symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress scores were associated with marital status (being single), lower incomes, severe sports injury history, and inadequate social support. In light of these results, MH assessments should be undertaken to detect which referees are at greater risk of MH problems and facilitate appropriate and timely MH interventions. Further study is needed to inform MH risk reduction strategies and/or programming.

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Experience and Construction of Mental Health Among English Female Football Match Officials

Tom Webb, Paul Gorczynski, Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam, and Laura Grubb

Research into the mental health of female sport match officials is scarce, despite verbal and physical abuse being commonplace. Twelve female match officials officiating male and female matches took part in semistructured interviews, investigating their experiences and understanding of their mental health. Deductive thematic analysis identified four overarching themes: male and female football environments; abuse, sexism, and homophobia in football; formal and informal support networks; and mental health knowledge and experience—accessing services. The results revealed toxic, abusive, male-dominated environments that included sexist and derogatory language, negatively affecting their mental health. The female match officials struggled to ascertain mechanisms for support and identified that the educational courses and local organizations did not provide mental health information or training, and match officials often experienced poor mental health during and after matches. Increased engagement with mental health literacy and policy change from governing bodies is required, given the unique challenges female match officials face.