New research by the universities of Leeds and Northumbria in the UK has shown that a lack of supporters hurt the performance of football teams playing at home during the pandemic. Study . was published in the September issue of psychology of sport and exercise And showed that in the new scenario the lead of the main teams was almost halved.
The researchers used data from Football-Data.co.uk and online database five thirty eight To evaluate 4,844 games in 11 European countries, including the English, German, Spanish and Italian League First and Second Division, and the Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Austrian, Danish, Russian and Swiss League First Division.
“Covid-19 has forced football at all levels to an unexpected halt in just a quarter of the 2019/2020 season,” said study lead author Dan McCarrick. release. “When [a temporada] Back, the rest of the games took place behind closed doors and without fans. It provided an unexpected and unique opportunity to examine one of the most discussed and empirically studied phenomena in professional team sport: the home advantage.”
The researchers found that with the crowd present, teams scored 0.39 more points per home game and 0.29 more goals per game than visiting teams. Without fans, the advantage was nearly half that: the teams won just 0.22 points more at home and scored just 0.15 more goals than the visitors.
For referees, the study showed that referees committed more fouls against the home team in empty stadiums, but the same number of fouls against the visiting team. In addition, teams in empty stadiums were given fewer yellow cards – the number of yellow cards against the home team remained the same as before the pandemic, although they committed more fouls. Red cards followed a similar pattern, which was less obvious but still significant.
McCarrick commented, “When the dominance of a team’s game was included in the analysis, associations were greatly weakened by fouls and yellow cards and, surprisingly, they became insignificant for red cards. ” “This shows for the first time that the influence of home fans on referees mostly disappears when the style of play is taken into account.”
The researchers measured the dominance of teams by the number of corners, submissions and shots on goals they scored in a given match. Home teams without crowds were less effective, averaging 0.7 fewer corners won per game, 1.3 fewer submission attempts, and 0.4 fewer shots on goal. However, the lack of a crowd made little difference for the attacking teams to control the game, with only 0.10 more corners, 0.17 more submissions and 0.20 more shots on goal.
“This is a really important investigation that contributes to a long-standing debate about the main reasons for profit. [de se jogar em] Sports at home,” commented co-author Sandy Wolfson. “A worldwide phenomenon that affects team sports at all levels, from entertainment to the elite.”
Experts believe the study proves that “in the most basic sense, fan presence matters,” commented McCarrick.