A new study by Leeds and Northumbria Universities, both in the UK, has revealed that a lack of fans has hurt the performance of football teams that have played at home during the pandemic. The study was published in the September issue of Psychology of sports and exercise It showed that the lead teams’ progress was cut by almost half in the new scenario.
The researchers used data from Football is final It is an online database FiveThirtyEight To evaluate 4,844 matches in 11 European countries, including the English, German, Spanish and Italian Leagues First and Second Division, and the Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Austrian, Danish, Russian and Swiss leagues.
“Covid-19 has forced football at all levels to an unexpected halt for just a quarter of the 2019/2020 season,” said Dane McCarrick, lead author of the study. release. “when [a temporada] He returned, and the remaining matches took place behind closed doors and without fans. This provided a unique and unintended opportunity to study one of the most talked about and empirically studied phenomena in professional team sports: the house advantage.”
They found that with the fans in attendance, teams scored an additional 0.39 points per home game and scored 0.29 more goals per game than the visiting teams. Without fans, the advantage was almost halved: teams won at home by only 0.22 points compared to outside and scored only 0.15 more goals than visitors.
As for refereeing, the study revealed that referees committed more fouls against the home team in empty stadiums, but a similar amount of fouls against the visiting team. In addition, visiting teams were awarded far fewer yellow cards in empty stadiums – the number of yellow cards against the home team remained similar to before the pandemic, despite them making more mistakes. The red cards followed a similar pattern, which was less obvious but still significant.
McCarrick commented: “When team dominance of the game was included in the analysis, correlations were greatly weakened by fouls and yellow cards, and surprisingly they became insignificant for red cards. This shows, for the first time, that crowd influence on referees often disappears. When playing style is taken into account.
The researchers measured team dominance by the number of corner kicks, shots and shots on target in a given match. Domestic teams were less dominant without the fans, averaging 0.7 fewer corner kicks per game, 1.3 fewer serving attempts and 0.4 fewer shots on goal. However, the lack of fans didn’t make much of a difference for the attacking teams to dominate matches, as there were only 0.10 extra corner kicks, 0.17 extra serve and 0.20 more shots on goal.
“This is a really important investigation that contributes to the long debate about the main reasons for the feature. [de se jogar em] “Home in Sports,” co-author Sandy Wolfson commented, “is a global phenomenon affecting team sports at all levels, from entertainment to the elite.”
Experts believe the study proves that “in a basic sense, fan attendance matters,” McCarrick commented.
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