A 3D virtual environment for training soccer referees

Gulec U., Yilmaz M., Isler V., O'Connor R. V., Clarke P. M.

COMPUTER STANDARDS & INTERFACES, vol.64, pp.1-10, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.csi.2018.11.004
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10
  • Keywords: Virtual worlds, Training, Visualization, Computer animation, Sport, DECISION-MAKING, REALITY, SIMULATION, SUCCESS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Emerging digital technologies are being used in many ways by and in particular virtual environments provide new opportunities to gain experience on real-world phenomena without having to live the actual real-world experiences. In this study, a quantitative research approach supported by expert validation interviews was conducted to determine the availability of virtual environments in the training of soccer referees. The aim is to design a virtual environment for training purposes, representing a real-life soccer stadium to allow the referees to manage matches in an atmosphere similar to the real stadium atmosphere. At this point, the referees have a chance to reduce the number of errors that they make in real life by experiencing difficult decisions that they encounter during the actual match via using the virtual stadium. In addition, the decisions and reactions of the referees during the virtual match were observed with the number of different fans in the virtual stadium to understand whether the virtual stadium created a real stadium atmosphere for the referees. For this evaluation, Presence Questionnaire (PQ) and Immersive Tendencies Questionnaire (ITQ) were applied to the referees to measure their involvement levels. In addition, a semi-structure interview technique was utilized in order to understand participants' opinions about the system. These interviews show that the referees have a positive attitude towards the system since they can experience the events occurred in the match as a first person instead of watching them from camera as a third person. The findings of current study suggest that virtual environments can be used as a training tool to increase the experience levels of the soccer referees since they have an opportunity to decide about the positions without facing the real-world risks.