Soccer-Study shows away sides major winners of absent fans

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Sheffield United - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - May 16, 2021 Everton's Richarlison heads at goal Pool via REUTERS/Peter Byrne

LONDON (Reuters) - A study has shown that away teams in the Premier League have been major beneficiaries of the lack of crowds this season, confirming a trend that started to appear at the outset of matches being played behind closed doors.

With up to 10,000 fans set to return to English top flight fixtures for the final two games of the season, visiting sides might find their luck has run out as home advantage returns.

The data study was conducted by Nielsen's Gracenote, which has analysed and compared the 288 games with fans before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019-20 and the 345 matches with no attendance this campaign.

It's shown that away sides have scored more goals, won more games and been on the end of more favourable refereeing decisions without vociferous home supporters there to intimidate them or the match officials.

Last season, home teams won 14.6% more matches than away teams in games with a crowd.

This term, away teams have won 4.4% more than home sides when no spectators have been present, with their win percentage sky-rocketing from 30.2% of last year's 288 games with crowds to 40.9% this campaign without fans present.

Moreover, it appears match officials' decision making has changed without fan pressure, with away sides given on average 0.6 free-kicks per game more than home sides, whereas last season that number was reversed.

In general, the number of yellow cards has also dropped from 3.6 to just over three per game.

However, away sides have significantly reduced their number of bookings from 1.97 to 1.5 per 90 minutes without crowds - with home teams now awarded more yellow cards than visitors in another reversal from last season.

"In the 345 matches without crowds this season, away teams in the Premier League have actually won 15 more matches than their opponents playing in their home stadium," Gracenote's Head of Sports Analysis Simon Gleave said.

"It is clear that home advantage in the Premier League has declined significantly or perhaps even disappeared without crowds."

Reuters contacted the Premier League for comment about the study's findings and asked if there are any plans in place to ensure unconscious bias does not return to decision making along with supporters.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Football

Soccer-Relentless Belgium win again to leave Finland hopes hanging
Soccer-Fairytale for Denmark as rout of Russia puts them in last 16
Analysis: Soccer-Versatile Alaba runs free to keep Austria dream alive
Soccer-Netherlands beat North Macedonia 3-0 to complete clean sweep in Group C
Soccer-England's Chilwell, Mount in isolation after contact with Gilmour
Soccer-Scotland's Gilmour tests COVID-19 positive, to miss Croatia game
Soccer-Czechs mustn't rely on Schick for goals, captain Darida says
Soccer-Swedes sitting pretty ahead of decisive Poland clash
Soccer-Arnautovic returns for Austria's final group game against Ukraine
Southern Tigers ready to sink teeth into Nagoya

Stories You'll Enjoy