Home advantage in soccer: variations in its magnitude and a literature review of the inter-related factors associated with its existence.The existence of home advantage in competitive sport is well documented, although the precise causes are less well understood and the topic of much recent research. Courneya and Carron (1992), Nevill and Holder (1999) and Carron, Loughead and Bray (2005) provide comprehensive reviews. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize To create a whole or complete unit from parts or components. See synthesis. the current state of knowledge with regards to home advantage in soccer.
The first paper to consider the concept of home advantage applied exclusively to soccer was by Dowie (1982) in which he commented on the success of countries hosting the World Cup and considered three possible causes of the advantage in soccer which he labeled fatigue, familiarity and fans. Data from the Football League in England were used, but no clear-cut conclusions were reached. It should be noted that in England the words football and soccer are synonymous. A more detailed study by Pollard pollard
fine protein-rich feed supplement for farm animals; a byproduct from the milling of wheat for flour. Called also shorts. (1986) soon followed and this still serves as the starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo
commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the for a general review of the way in which home advantage applies specifically to soccer. Data from various competitions in England and Europe were used to assess the effects on home advantage of crowd support, travel fatigue, familiarity, referee A judicial officer who presides over civil hearings but usually does not have the authority or power to render judgment.
Referees are usually appointed by a judge in the district in which the judge presides. bias, tactics and psychological factors. Wolfson and Neave (2004) also provide a review, focusing on the coaching implications of the advantage of playing at home.
Other studies have investigated particular aspects of soccer's home advantage. These include pitch surface (Barnett & Hilditch, 1993), travel distance (Clarke & Norman, 1995), crowd factors (Nevill, Newell & Gale, 1996), referee bias (Nevill, Balmer & Williams, 2002), territoriality Territoriality
Behavior patterns in which an animal actively defends a space or some other resource. One major advantage of territoriality is that it gives the territory holder exclusive access to the defended resource, which is generally associated with (Neave & Wolfson, 2003), geographical variation any variation of a species which is dependent on climate or other geographical conditions.
See also: Geographic (Pollard, 2006) and long-term trends (Pollard & Pollard, 2005b). Many of these studies have made extensive use of data from the Football League in England, a competition that has been in existence since 1888 with very little modification over the years. It is an excellent data source for the study of home advantage in soccer. This is because the divisions that make up the league have always been based on a perfectly balanced schedule of games in which each team plays each other team at home and away once during each season. It is the original model on which most other soccer leagues throughout the world are based, so that meaningful international comparisons can easily be made. In the next section the existence of home advantage will be established and quantified in different competitions, in different time periods and in different countries. Subsequent sections consider the evidence for and against the main postulated pos·tu·late
tr.v. pos·tu·lat·ed, pos·tu·lat·ing, pos·tu·lates
1. To make claim for; demand.
2. To assume or assert the truth, reality, or necessity of, especially as a basis of an argument.
3. causes of this advantage. A model for the interacting way in which these factors influence home advantage is then formulated.
Existence of Home Advantage
The schedule in a league in which each team plays each other team the same number of times at home and away is said to be 'balanced'. The overall home advantage in a balanced league can be quantified as the number of points gained at home as a percentage of the total number of points gained in all matches. A figure of 50% would indicate no home advantage since the same number of points would have been gained at home and away. The higher the figure above 50%, the greater the home advantage. In this paper, all analyses are based on data from balanced schedules unless otherwise stated.
Table 1 shows home advantage for the first and second divisions of the national soccer leagues of France, Spain, Italy, Germany and England over the six seasons 1996/97-2001/02. In all these countries, only very small differences exist between the two divisions, even though crowds in the first divisions are considerably larger than in the second. Data for this table and for other national leagues later in this section where obtained from the Internet at www.soccerway.com and www.rsssf.com.
To further investigate the relationship between competition level and home advantage, Table 2 shows data from nine levels of competition in England aggregated over the most recent six-year period in which these nine levels existed unchanged. Level 1 is the Premier League, levels 2 to 4 are the three divisions of the Football League, level 5 is the Conference and levels 6 to 9 are the four divisions of the Ryman Football League, one of three regional leagues that existed immediately below the Conference. Promotion and relegation In many sports leagues around the world (with North American and Australian professional leagues being the most notable exceptions), relegation (or demotion) means the mandated transfer of the least successful team(s) of a higher division into a lower division at the end of operated throughout the nine levels, so in theory a team from level 9 could ultimately rise to level 1. Home advantage and the average attendance at each of the nine levels are shown. The Premier League and the three divisions of the Football League have very similar home advantage figures (just over 60%) despite large differences in average attendance. The Conference and the four divisions of the Ryman Football League have lower home advantage, but the figures are very similar to each other (around 55%), even at level 9 where the average attendance is less than 100 spectators. This compares with average crowds of nearly 1,500 at level 5 in the Conference. The data for Table 2, and for all subsequent figures in this paper for England, are obtained from the annual publication 'Rothmans Football Yearbook'
To put home advantage into a historical perspective, Table 3 shows figures for the Football League in England for nine separate time periods since its inception in 1888. In addition to the two World Wars, a number of significant dates are used to define the periods. These are 1958 (the creation of Divisions 3 and 4 from the previous regional Divisions 3 North and South), 1981 (the introduction of 3 points instead of 2 for a win) and 1992 (the reorganization of the league structure and creation of the Premier League). Somewhat surprisingly, home advantage was at its greatest in the 19th century. It has been slightly lower at level 1 than at level 2 in all the time periods and also lower than at levels 3 and 4 in all but the most recent time period. Pollard and Pollard (2005b) presented a season by season analysis of these data and showed a sharp drop in home advantage immediately after World War 2 during which the league had been suspended sus·pend
v. sus·pend·ed, sus·pend·ing, sus·pends
1. To bar for a period from a privilege, office, or position, usually as a punishment: suspend a student from school. for seven seasons. The data for Table 3 prior to 1970 is from Laschke (1980).
For international comparison, Table 4 summarizes home advantage for the national leagues of 44 countries in Europe, based on results during the six most recent complete seasons prior to January 1st, 2003. This table is derived from an earlier version in which full details of the methodology are given (Pollard & Pollard, 2005a). The national leagues of Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Scotland operated with slightly unbalanced playing schedules; for all other countries the schedule was balanced. Home advantage in Europe is clearly greatest in the countries of the Balkans, the top seven nations all coming from this region and all having very high home advantage, close to or above 70%. The country with the greatest home advantage is Albania, closely followed by Bosnia and both with figures approaching an extraordinary 80%, a higher home advantage than in any sport or competition previously reported. During the period under analysis, there were separate national leagues for the various combinations of ethnic groups in Bosnia. Only leagues in which the majority Muslim population participated have been included. Most of the major soccer playing countries of Western Europe Western Europe
The countries of western Europe, especially those that are allied with the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established 1949 and usually known as NATO). have figures of between 60% and 65%, while home advantage below 60% is mostly confined con·fine
v. con·fined, con·fin·ing, con·fines
1. To keep within bounds; restrict: Please confine your remarks to the issues at hand. See Synonyms at limit. to the countries of northern Europe comprising Scandinavia, the British Isles British Isles: see Great Britain; Ireland. and the Baltic region For other uses, see Baltic (disambiguation).
The Baltic region is an ambiguous term that refers to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea. . The lowest home advantage was in the Latvian league (53.2%), with Latvia's two Baltic neighbors, Lithuania and Estonia occupying two the next three lowest positions.
In addition to the similarities within the Balkan countries, and between the three Baltic republics, there are several other neighboring neigh·bor
1. One who lives near or next to another.
2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.
3. A fellow human.
4. Used as a form of familiar address.
v. countries with strikingly similar home advantage figures. These include Switzerland, Germany and Austria (all 63%), Netherlands and Belgium (both 61%), Sweden, Norway and Finland (57%-58%) and Ireland and Northern Ireland Northern Ireland: see Ireland, Northern.
Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupying the northeastern portion of the island of Ireland. Area: 5,461 sq mi (14,144 sq km). Population (2001): 1,685,267. (both 55%).
For comparison with other professional team sports in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. over the last eight seasons (up to June 30th, 2004), Table 5 shows home advantage for baseball (MLB MLB Major League Baseball
MLB Minor League Baseball
MLB Middle Linebacker (football)
MLB Motor Life Boat
MLB Matt Leblanc (actor)
MLB Mother Love Bone (band) ), basketball (NBA), hockey (NHL NHL Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see there ) and American football (NFL NFL
National Football League
NFL (US) n abbr (= National Football League) → Fußball-Nationalliga ). Home advantage for these sports are all below the 61.8% for Major League Soccer over the same period and mostly below the figures for the major soccer leagues in Europe (Table 4). Thus home advantage in soccer appears to be a more important factor than in other major professional team sports.
The relative success of host nations in the World Cup up to 1978 noted by Dowie (1982) has continued. No host country has ever failed to progress to the second stage of the final tournament, with France winning in 1998 and South Korea surprisingly reaching the semifinals in 2002. Brown et al. (2002) estimated home advantage at 63% for the 32 international teams that reached the final stages of the 2002 World Cup. However this figure was a 'winning percentage' and ignored tied games. Re-working their data to include ties reduces home advantage to 59%, but even the reliability of this figure is questionable due to the highly unbalanced schedule of games used in the analysis.
Pollard (1986) showed that European club competitions for 1960-1984 displayed a greater home advantage than did domestic competitions in England. The premier competition in Europe is now the Champions League, the format of which is different from the old European
In the F.A. Cup, the main knock-out competition in England, Pollard (1986) showed that home advantage was lower than in the Football League. Table 7 brings the data up to date. Since the semi-finals are played on neutral grounds, the sixth round (quarter-finals) is the last for which home advantage can be a factor. The figure for this round (50.6%) suggests that home advantage is virtually non-existent at this stage of the competition. This contrasts with previous rounds in which home advantage is more comparable to league play. Knock-out competitions, such as the F.A. Cup do not have balanced playing schedules. However, the draw for these competitions is performed in a completely random manner, without seeding, so that there is very unlikely to be any bias due to lack of balance.
Both Barnett and Hilditch (1993) and Clarke and Norman (1995) showed that the ability of a team needs to be taken into account when considering home advantage for individual teams, rather than for a competition as a whole. Each developed a different approach from that used for complete leagues, allowing the home advantage of individual teams to be compared. This was used to investigate the influence of different pitch surfaces and pitch dimensions, as well as travel distances, on home advantage. These results will be discussed in the next section in which the possible causes of home advantage are explored. Bray, Law and Foyle (2003) also investigated the relationship between the magnitude of the home advantage and the quality of individual teams.
Factors associated with home advantage
The framework for this section will be based on that adopted by Pollard (1986) for soccer and similar to that used by Nevill and Holder (1999) in their review of home advantage for all sports.
The support of a home crowd is a likely cause of home advantage, but this factor could operate in many ways and these have proved difficult to isolate isolate /iso·late/ (i´sah-lat)
1. to separate from others.
2. a group of individuals prevented by geographic, genetic, ecologic, social, or artificial barriers from interbreeding with others of their kind. and quantify Quantify - A performance analysis tool from Pure Software. . For example does the effect of crowd support depend on the size or density of the crowd, or on the intensity of the support or on a combination of all three factors? Is it the home or away team that is primarily affected, and is the referee subconsciously sub·con·scious
Not wholly conscious; partially or imperfectly conscious: subconscious perceptions.
The part of the mind below the level of conscious perception. Often used with the. influenced by the noise of a home crowd? The evidence is conflicting and hard to interpret. Dowie (1982), Pollard (1986, 2005) and Clarke and Norman (1995) all noted that home advantage varied little over the four divisions of the Football League in England, despite large differences in crowd size. Nevill et al. (1996) claimed to show a linear decline in home advantage with crowd size when a lower league in England and three divisions in Scotland were added to the four divisions previously considered. However the results were based on a small sample of games (only one season), and actually showed no difference between the top three divisions in England
Tables 1, 2 and 3 shed further light on the effect of crowd size. Based on an analysis of six seasons in England (Table 2) it proved possible to quantify home advantage over nine levels of competition for which crowd size was also available. The results confirmed very little difference in home advantage between the top four levels (all just over 60%), despite large differences in crowd size. Below this level, home advantage dropped to around 55%, but again there was very little difference between the five leagues analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. , despite considerable differences in crowd size, and even with average crowds of below 100. It therefore seems that in England, at least, home advantage will exist in competitive soccer played before small crowds in small stadiums, and that this advantage is currently about 55%. Once average crowds rise about 3,000, then this figure increases to around 60% where it remains up to the highest level of competition where crowds currently average over 30,000. This latter conclusion is supported by the evidence available from the top two divisions of the five leading national soccer leagues in Western Europe (Table 1). In each country there is very little difference between the top two divisions despite the big difference in crowd size that must exist. Table 3 showed that for a period of over 100 years the highest level of league play in England, with the largest crowds, has never had a home advantage figure above that of the next lower league with smaller crowds--a further fact that argues against a simple relationship between crowd size and home advantage.
Clarke and Norman (1995) analyzed the home advantage of individual teams in England and their results showed no association with crowd size. Pollard (1986) noted that crowd density did not appear to be associated with the degree of home advantage. It was also shown that when teams from within London played against each other ('local derbies'), home advantage was reduced, a finding that was confirmed by Clarke and Norman (1995). This could be attributed to the fact that the intensity of support for each team was likely to be relatively similar in these games. Likewise, in other games it is possible that the magnitude of the away support should be taken into account when assessing home advantage. This could be one reason why it has been difficult to establish a clear relationship between crowd size and home advantage.
It could also be argued that the drop in home advantage during the 1990s in England could be in part a consequence of the mandatory requirement for all-seater accomodation in stadiums in the top two divisions. This went into effect in August 1994. Prior to this most stadiums had extensive 'terraces' providing relatively low-cost standing room, often the source of loud and rowdy support for the home team. These terraces have been replaced by less dense and much more expensive seating, the inevitable result of which is a somewhat more gentile audience and perhaps less intense crowd support.
Nevill, Balmer and Williams (1999, 2002) have produced evidence to suggest that the noise of a home crowd may contribute to home advantage by influencing the decisions of referees, a finding that will be explored further under 'referee bias'. Wolfson, Wakelin and Lewis (2005) investigated the influence that soccer fans themselves perceive that they have in providing an advantage to the home team. Their self-selected sample of supporters believed that crowd support was the main factor in home advantage and that it operated by inspiring the home team, intimidating in·tim·i·date
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.
2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats. the opponents and influencing the referee.
Conflicting evidence exists regarding the effects of travel on the away team as a cause of home advantage. The reduced home advantage in local derbies described in the previous section could be attributed to the relative lack of travel for the away team, rather than to similar levels of crowd support. Similarly, the higher home advantage in European competition (Table 6) could be the consequence of longer and more tiring tir·ing
See cerclage. travel. Moreover, Brown et al. (2002) showed evidence that home advantage was affected by travel distance for international teams. Clarke and Norman (1995) also reported that home advantage in England increased as a function of the distance between the teams playing each other. Conversely con·verse 1
intr.v. con·versed, con·vers·ing, con·vers·es
1. To engage in a spoken exchange of thoughts, ideas, or feelings; talk. See Synonyms at speak.
2. Pollard (1986) showed no difference in home advantage comparing games between teams more than or less than 200 miles (320km) apart. Finally, the steady decline in home advantage seen in England since the 19th century (Table 3), before the days of motorized mo·tor·ize
tr.v. mo·tor·ized, mo·tor·iz·ing, mo·tor·iz·es
1. To equip with a motor.
2. To supply with motor-driven vehicles.
3. To provide with automobiles. transport, could be explained by the fact that travel has become easier, faster and more comfortable over the years.
Familiarity with local playing conditions
Barnett and Hilditch (1993) produced evidence that the few teams playing on artificial turf Artificial turf, or synthetic turf, is a grass-like man-made surface manufactured from synthetic materials. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass, however, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial in England derived an increased home advantage compared with other teams. This report resulted in a ban of the use of artificial turf in the Football League. The finding was confirmed by Clarke and Norman (1995) and together these studies suggested that familiarity with local playing conditions might be a factor in home advantage. However, teams playing on unusually large or small pitch dimensions did not appear to derive any increased home advantage (Pollard, 1986). It has been shown that there is evidence that a substantial part of home advantage disappears when a team moves to a new stadium, possibly due to the loss of familiarity with home playing conditions (Pollard, 2002). Although the examples were from other sports, the results should also apply to soccer, although an investigation by Loughead, Carron, Bray and Kim (2003) was inconclusive INCONCLUSIVE. What does not put an end to a thing. Inconclusive presumptions are those which may be overcome by opposing proof; for example, the law presumes that he who possesses personal property is the owner of it, but evidence is allowed to contradict this presumption, and show who is partly due to the small number of games analyzed. These playing conditions associated with familiarity would include factors such as the alignment of the pitch with regards to the prevailing wind prevailing wind
A wind that blows predominantly from a single general direction. The trade winds of the tropics, which blow from the east throughout the year, are prevailing winds. See illustration at wind.
Noun 1. and sun, the visual cues players would acquire from knowledge of there own stadium, and also the general benefits of preparing for a game in a familiar and friendly environment. Familiarity, or lack of it, could be attributed to the drop in home advantage immediately after the seven-year suspension of the Football League in England during World War 2 (Pollard & Pollard, 2005b). Teams had many new players who were unfamiliar with their local environment when the league resumed play in 1946 and, if familiarity were contributing to home advantage, the drop would have been predicted.
Another opportunity to test the hypothesis of familiarity arose in 1996, the inaugural season of Major League Soccer in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . New teams were created in 10 cities around the country and players assigned to each team. Very few of these players had any prior familiarity with their new home city, home stadium or team mates, so that if familiarity were a factor, then home advantage would be expected to have been affected. In fact the figure was 61.9% for the first season, slightly above the average for the subsequent seven seasons, providing no evidence that lack of familiarity had an influence on home advantage in Major League Soccer.
Neave and Wolfson (2003) define territoriality as 'the protective response to an invasion of one's perceived territory' and provide evidence that this may be a factor contributing to home advantage in soccer. Testosterone testosterone (tĕstŏs`tərōn), principal androgen, or male sex hormone. One of the group of compounds known as anabolic steroids, testosterone is secreted by the testes (see testis) but is also synthesized in small quantities in the levels of players were found to be significantly higher before a home game than before an away game. An increase in competitiveness was suggested as an explanation, but the exact way in which this finding might affect performance awaits further research. It is also possible to interpret the much higher home advantage found in the Balkan nations as a consequence of territoriality. These countries have been the setting of continual strife for hundreds of years, first during the occupation of the Turks as part of the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire (ŏt`əmən), vast state founded in the late 13th cent. by Turkish tribes in Anatolia and ruled by the descendants of Osman I until its dissolution in 1918. , then through two Balkan Wars Balkan Wars, 1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish , two World Wars and more recently during the violent break-up of Yugoslavia. It is not unreasonable to hypothesize hy·poth·e·size
v. hy·poth·e·sized, hy·poth·e·siz·ing, hy·poth·e·siz·es
To assert as a hypothesis.
To form a hypothesis. a heightened sense of territoriality in these countries, translating into an increased home advantage. Pollard (2006) showed a similar situation in South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. , with the Andean countries of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador having national leagues with higher home advantage than elsewhere. A territorial explanation comparable to that for the Balkan nations was suggested. Much earlier, Morris (1981) had considered home advantage as a likely 'territorial reaction', but interpreted its effect more as a negative one on the away team rather than a positive one for the team playing at home in its own territory
There is mounting evidence that the referee may be influenced to favor the home team by the intensity of crowd support, hence contributing to home advantage. Using data from Belgium, Lefebvre and Passer (1974) were the first to note that the away team at soccer received more yellow cards and conceded con·cede
v. con·ced·ed, con·ced·ing, con·cedes
1. To acknowledge, often reluctantly, as being true, just, or proper; admit. See Synonyms at acknowledge.
2. more penalty kicks than the home team. Although this could be the result of more time spent defending, or more aggressive play, referee bias was also a possibility. Nevill et al. (1996) observed that in England and Scotland, penalties and red cards appeared to be given more against the away team. Furthermore the magnitude of this effect increased with crowd size, suggesting referee bias due to crowd noise as a possible explanation. Subsequently, Nevill et al. (2002) analyzed the decisions of qualified referees watching video recordings of games with and without the sound of the crowd. They found that when assessing free-kicks, the referees tended to favor the home team significantly more when the noise of crowd support was present. This manifested itself in a reduction of fouls awarded against the home team rather than in an increase against the away team. In a previous study with a smaller sample of players, coaches and referees watching games with and without sound, Nevill et al. (1999) had also produced evidence of referee bias. However in this case it was a result of more free kicks being awarded against the away team when crowd noise was present. These studies suggest that referee bias, presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. subconscious subconscious: see unconscious. , does contribute to home advantage as a consequence of the noise generated by crowd support.
Schmid (2004) suggested that there might be other factors contributing to referee bias. He showed that in the German part of Switzerland, home advantage was greater if the referee was German speaking than if not; similarly games involving French speaking referees in the French part of Switzerland also showed an increased home advantage. This implies an unidentified cultural effect superimposing itself onto the simple effect of crowd noise on referees.
Special playing tactics
Teams playing away from home often adopt a more defensive and cautious approach, tactics that may contribute to home advantage. For example in the knock-out stages of European club competition total goals home and away determine the winners, so that a narrow away loss in the first game is considered a reasonable result. Home advantage in these games (Table 6) is clearly higher than in the domestic leagues, a fact that could be attributed to more defensive tactics used away from home.
Whatever the basic causes of home advantage, it is ultimately the minds and actions of the players themselves, as well as their coaches and the referee, that will determine the progress and outcome of games and hence the quantifiable Quantifiable
Can be expressed as a number. The results of quantifiable psychological tests can be translated into numerical values, or scores.
Mentioned in: Psychological Tests magnitude of home advantage. The sparse sparse - A sparse matrix (or vector, or array) is one in which most of the elements are zero. If storage space is more important than access speed, it may be preferable to store a sparse matrix as a list of (index, value) pairs or use some kind of hash scheme or associative memory. knowledge of these psychological and behavioral factors is reviewed by Nevill and Holder (1999) and by Carton et al. (2005). The advantage of playing at home was evident in the very early days of competitive soccer (Table 3) and is a deeply engrained concept. If players believe in its existence, then it is likely it will increase their confidence when playing at home and hence itself contribute to the continuing existence of the advantage. The magnitude of this advantage will depend on the degree to which these beliefs are reinforced by feelings generated by familiarity and territoriality, as well as by the effects of crowd support and travel.
There is some evidence that the performance of away teams may be adversely affected by more aggressive and reckless reckless adj. in both negligence and criminal cases, careless to the point of being heedless of the consequences ("grossly" negligent). Most commonly this refers to the traffic misdemeanor "reckless driving. actions, possibly as a reaction to a hostile home crowd. This could be a plausible alternative interpretation to the findings of both Lefebvre and Passer (1974) and Nevill et al. (1996) discussed under referee bias. In addition to this, Glamser (1990) found that the two black players on a Conference team in England had a significant increase in yellow and red cards when playing away from home, when compared with their white team mates. One interpretation was that in away games at this time (1987), black players in England were subject to more personal abuse from the crowd than white players. This would translate into an increase in what was termed a 'dysfunctional aggressive response' leading to disciplinary action from the referee.
The creation of the Premier League in England in 1992, together with the Bosman ruling In football (soccer), the Bosman ruling is a 1995 European Court of Justice decision that allows professional football players in the European Union (EU) to move freely to another club at the end of their term of contract with their present team. on freedom of contract in 1995, have both contributed to a much changed composition of professional teams in England, especially in the Premier League. Not only do players change teams more frequently than previously, but a large influx of non-English players has resulted. It could be argued that the observed drop in home advantage since 1992 is due to a less deep-rooted attachment that players have to their home teams, resulting in a reduced feeling for the concept of home and away. This in turn could influence their behavior and performance on the field.
It is clear that more research is needed into the thinking and subsequent actions of players, coaches and referees in order to further investigate the psychological factors of home advantage.
In 1981, the number of points for a win in England was increased from two to three, a system that now exists throughout the world. It can be shown mathematically that a set of results will produce a home advantage figure that is slightly greater if three points are awarded for a win instead of two. However one of the purposes of introducing the new system was to encourage more positive play by both teams, a fact that itself could affect home advantage. In the event, there has actually been a decline in home advantage in England since 1981 (Table 3), so that it is difficult to make any conclusion regarding the effects of the two different points systems. Interestingly, Pollard (1986) pointed out that when the Conference in England experimented with a system whereby two points were given for a home win and three points for an away win, approximately the same number of points were gained at home and away, hence eliminating the effect of home advantage. In competitions in which total goals from home and away games determine the winner, the available evidence (Table 6) suggests that home advantage may be magnified.
Barnett and Hilditch (1993) and Clarke and Norman (1995) both showed that team ability needs to be taken into account when the home advantages of individual teams are being compared. Furthermore, the interpretation of home advantage needs to incorporate the exact method of quantifying the advantage, be it based on points (as in this paper), wins or goal difference.
Home advantage in soccer is due to many factors. It is clear that some of these factors interact with each other, so that the interpretation of observed variations in home advantage is not easy. Figure 1 attempts to show the way in which this complex inter-relationship might operate, based on considerations outlined in the previous sections. Clearly much research is still needed to isolate and quantify these effects, together with their interactions. Any future conclusions will need to explain a number of findings for which there are at present no clear explanations. These include:
1. The wide regional variation in home advantage throughout the domestic national leagues of Europe (Table 4)
2. The inconsistent relationship between crowd size and home advantage (Tables 1, 2, 3).
3. The high home advantage that existed over 100 years ago in the initial years of competitive league soccer in England (Table 3).
4. The steady decline in home advantage in England, especially over the last 20 years (Table 3).
5. The absence of home advantage in the quarter-finals of the English F.A. Cup (Table 7).
Most previous studies have used an archival approach to investigate home advantage in soccer. However, Nevill et al. (2002) have demonstrated that it is possible to assess the effect of a single component of the home advantage in a laboratory setting. It is now probably time to focus more on the use of such controlled experiments to eliminate confounding confounding
when the effects of two, or more, processes on results cannot be separated, the results are said to be confounded, a cause of bias in disease studies.
confounding factor variables, with the goal of producing a better understanding of the effects on home advantage of specific factors and their interactions.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
This paper is based on a presentation given in May 2003 in Costa Rica at the IVth International Congress of Sciences Applied to Soccer (Pollard & Pollard, 2005a).
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California Polytechnic State University This article is about the university in San Luis Obispo, California. For Cal Poly Pomona, see California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
California Polytechnic State University, commonly called Cal Poly , San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo (săn l`ĭs ōbĭs`pō), city (1990 pop. 41,958), seat of San Luis Obispo co., S Calif., near San Luis Obispo Bay; inc. 1856.
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Table 1. Home advantage in the First and Second Divisions of the major leagues in Europe for the six seasons 1996/97 - 2001/02. Country Division 1 Division 2 France 65.0% 63.9% Italy 64.2% 65.4% Spain 63.9% 60.1% Germany 63.3% 63.2% England 60.7% 61.2% Table 2. Home advantage and average attendance at nine levels of competition in England for the six seasons 1996/97 - 2001/02. League Level Home advantage Average attendance Premier 1 60.7% 31009 Division 1 2 61.2% 14160 Division 2 3 60.3% 6649 Division 3 4 61.9% 3757 Conference 5 56.7% 1484 Ryman Premier 6 56.7% 487 Ryman Division 1 7 54.1% 247 Ryman Division 2 8 55.3% 129 Ryman Division 3 9 55.1% 89 Table 3. Home advantage at different levels * of the Football League in England, 1888/89 - 2003/04. Period Seasons Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 1888-1900 12 67.9% 70.1% 1900-1915 15 65.8% 68.3% 1919-1930 11 66.0% 66.2% 68.8% 1930-1939 9 67.3% 67.4% 69.4% 1946-1958 12 62.7% 64.5% 65.4% 1958-1970 12 62.9% 65.0% 65.6% 65.4% 1970-1981 11 63.6% 64.1% 64.8% 65.5% 1981-1992 11 62.7% 63.3% 63.1% 63.3% 1992-2004 12 60.6% 61.2% 60.4% 60.3% Level 1: Div 1 (1888-1992), Premier (1992-2004). Level 2: Div 2 (1892-1992), Div 1(1992-2004). Level 3: Div 3 (1920-1921), Div 3 North & South (1921-1958), Div 3 (1958-1992), Div 2 (1992-2004). Level 4: Div 4 (1958-1992), Div 3 (1992-2004) Table 4 Home advantage (HA) in national soccer leagues of Europe for last six complete seasons prior to January 1st, 2003. Region of Erope HA Balkans South, West, Central, East 79% Albania 78% 77% Bosnia 76% 75% 74% 73% 72% 71% Bulgaria, Romania 70% Serbia, Macedonia 69% 68% 67% Croatia 66% Czech Republic, Ukraine 65% Slovalda, Cueece, France 64% Portugal, Poland, Italy 63% Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria 62% Turkey, Russia, Hungary 61% Netherlands, Belgium 60% England 59% 58% Belarus Iceland, Sweden 57% Cypnas Norway, Finland 56% Moldova Faroes, Scotland, Wales, Denmark 55% Ireland, Northern Ireland 54% Malta, Luxembourg Lithuania 53% Estonia, Latvia Table 5. Home advantage in professional team sports in North America for last 8 complete seasons prior to June 30th, 2004. Sport League Total games played Home advantage Baseball AL, NL 19,099 53.6% Hockey NHL 9,307 54.4% Football NFL 1,976 59.3% Basketball NBA 9.048 60.5% Soccer MLS 1,344 61.8% Table 6. Record of home teams in the European Cup and the Champions League, 1960/61-2003/04. Goals Goals Total Home Competition stage for against goals advantage Quarter-finals 554 283 837 66.2% Semi-finals 279 110 389 71.7% Table 7. Record of home teams in the F.A. Cup in England, 1960/61-2003/04. Home Round Played Won Drawn Lost advantage * Third round 1407 602 416 389 57.6% Fourth round 704 321 203 180 60.0% Fifth round 352 169 95 88 61.5% Sixth round 175 64 49 62 50.6% * Home advantage calculated by assigning two points for a win, one for a draw.