The home advantage (HA) affects football competitions, especially due to the presence of crowd support. Even though several studies demonstrated that HA (which is influenced by the crowd) decreased in recent years, the empty stadia caused by COVID-19 restrictions offered unique situations to explore and quantify HA. For this reason, we aimed to assess HA in two seasons of the major Italian Championships. We conducted an observational study with the data from the last three seasons of the Italian football championship A-B series, analyzing a total of 2.964 individual game scores. To quantify the HA, the number of points won at home was calculated as a percentage of the total number of points won, home and away. In every season and for every team classification, HA was found (scored points > 50% in home matches). We reported a difference in HA median score for Serie B. Additionally, a difference was found in Serie A for middle-ranking HA median scores in the two seasons compared (p-value = 0.017), which was similarly found in Serie B (p-value = 0.009). The number of penalties was lower in the season with a crowd compared to one without a crowd (p = 0.001). The HA did not disappear in empty stadiums, so there must be other contributing factors. Additionally, we found that the referees were biased by the presence of the crowd in favor of the home teams, and this result could be considered by the football association during referees' training and formation.

The role of crowd support on home advantage during COVID-19 restrictions on Italian football competitions. Comparison between 2018-19 and 2020-21 seasons of the Italian Serie A and Serie B championships

Giuriato, Matteo;
2022

Abstract

The home advantage (HA) affects football competitions, especially due to the presence of crowd support. Even though several studies demonstrated that HA (which is influenced by the crowd) decreased in recent years, the empty stadia caused by COVID-19 restrictions offered unique situations to explore and quantify HA. For this reason, we aimed to assess HA in two seasons of the major Italian Championships. We conducted an observational study with the data from the last three seasons of the Italian football championship A-B series, analyzing a total of 2.964 individual game scores. To quantify the HA, the number of points won at home was calculated as a percentage of the total number of points won, home and away. In every season and for every team classification, HA was found (scored points > 50% in home matches). We reported a difference in HA median score for Serie B. Additionally, a difference was found in Serie A for middle-ranking HA median scores in the two seasons compared (p-value = 0.017), which was similarly found in Serie B (p-value = 0.009). The number of penalties was lower in the season with a crowd compared to one without a crowd (p = 0.001). The HA did not disappear in empty stadiums, so there must be other contributing factors. Additionally, we found that the referees were biased by the presence of the crowd in favor of the home teams, and this result could be considered by the football association during referees' training and formation.
COVID-19 restrictions
Italian football
crowd influence
home advantage
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1058606
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