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Home field advantage

Posted by David Harding 
Home field advantage
Posted by: David Harding (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: April 01, 2021 02:57PM

Teams playing without spectators has given the number crunchers a chance to test some theories about home field advantage. Summary from New Scientist. The original article was in PloOs One. TLDR summary: the fans influence the penalties called by the refs, teams play a little differently home vs away, but the end results were minimally different.
Abstract
The present paper investigates factors contributing to the home advantage, by using the exceptional opportunity to study professional football matches played in the absence of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. More than 40,000 matches before and during the pandemic, including more than 1,000 professional matches without spectators across the main European football leagues, have been analyzed. Results support the notion of a crowd-induced referee bias as the increased sanctioning of away teams disappears in the absence of spectators with regard to fouls (p < .001), yellow cards (p < .001), and red cards (p < .05). Moreover, the match dominance of home teams decreases significantly as indicated by shots (p < .001) and shots on target (p < .01). In terms of the home advantage itself, surprisingly, only a non-significant decrease is found. While the present paper supports prior research with regard to a crowd-induced referee bias, spectators thus do not seem to be the main driving factor of the home advantage. Results from amateur football, being naturally played in absence of a crowd, provide further evidence that the home advantage is predominantly caused by factors not directly or indirectly attributable to a noteworthy number of spectators.
 

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