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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 17:43 GMT
Full-time refs show better timing
Home teams used to enjoy an extra 35 seconds as they sought to score
Top football referees have become more impartial in their decisions since they went full-time in season 2001/2002.

Research by Professor Neil Rickman and Dr Robert Witt of the University of Surrey has shown a more even-handed approach by the whistlers recently.

The major difference is a decrease in the amount of added time which used to be put on the end of matches if the home team was losing.

The findings have been published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Increased impartiality

Home managers and crowds can put intense pressure on a referee if they are behind and time is running out.

The study found that previously, when the home team was leading by a solitary goal at the end of 90 minutes, they tended to add on less extra time.

But when the away team was winning by a single goal injury time was an average of 35 seconds longer - providing the home eleven with a better chance of equalising.

"This difference in injury time duration has lessened since the professionalisation of refereeing," said the report.

Whether this increasing impartiality is because of financial incentives, better training or better monitoring, it has lead to a decrease in decisions that could be seen to be biased.

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