Sport & Exercise Science

Referees need earplugs not glasses

Sport teams as well as individual athletes performing “at home” have higher success rates than teams or athletes performing “away.”

This home advantage is one of the best-established phenomena in sports and recent research published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology supports the widely held view on football terraces that referees do indeed favour the home team – but why?

The researchers concluded that the answer lies not in any bias or prejudice on the part of the officials, but rather a cue reaction to crowd noise providing the basis for judging the severity of a foul – the perception being that the louder the crowd reaction the worse the offence.

Further, they found that the crowd density and proximity to the playing area, the greater the level of influence – bigger teams have bigger stadia, bigger crowds and higher crowd noise and so have a higher incidence of favourable decisions.

This also applied to the higher incidence of yellow cards being given to away teams than to home players and referees allowed more extra time when home teams needed one more goal to win or even the score.

Seems that Fergie time is not a myth after all!

Source: Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology

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