This introductory chapter focuses on the historical abuse of sports match officials in England in particular, and considers how incidents of abuse can be defined, particularly in a sporting setting, in order to provide some greater understanding about the incidents of abuse to which match officials might be exposed. Issues related to the verbal and physical abuse of referees, umpires and other match officials are considered in professional sport in order to provide further context regarding the topics covered in subsequent chapters. Finally, attention turns to the structure of the book, the content covered in each chapter and an overall summary of the format of the forthcoming chapters.