London, Jan 12(ANI): Football teams are no longer enjoying home advantage on their grounds due to the improved level training of referees, according to a study by University of Wolverhampton and the University of Portsmouth.
The days of football teams like Manchester United and Liverpool enjoying a home advantage with the crowd swaying referee decisions are over, the Daily Mail reports.
Football teams with large numbers of fans have often been known for having a 12th man on the pitch as referees get frightened and favour the home side, but the study has discovered better training of officials means they are more unbiased than they have ever been.
Academics analysed results for teams in the professional English Leagues and Scottish Premier League since 1945 and the findings revealed modern referees have a greater resilience to crowd influence and there are a greater number of teams winning away over the last 20 years, the paper reported.
Professor Alan Nevill, from the School of Sport at the University of Wolverhampton, led the study that has been published in the journal ‘Psychology of Sport and Exercise’.
Nevill said crowds are known to influence referees’ decisions to favour the home side, however, he added that improved training of referees since World War Two has contributed to an improved ability to make objective decisions and a greater resilience to crowd influence.
Nevill further said that it explains the decline in home advantage but also accounts for the steeper decline observed with smaller crowds, adding that there have been dramatic developments in the way referees are trained to cope with the pressures associated with the ever-increasing demands of the game.
Nevill added that at the same time, professional sport has developed into a business with enormous monetary rewards and there is immense pressure on football’s governing bodies to ensure justice is seen to be done. (ANI)