For diehard fans of football teams across the country, not being able to attend and watch from the stands carries very little positives at all. We now have nothing to do on Saturdays, feel like we are not supporting our clubs, and of course, miss out on the action in the flesh.
Sure, we can still watch on television or via an online streaming service, but that will never replace being involved in the pitchside atmosphere.
Studies have shown, however, that there are at least some positives to take away from stadiums being empty. Fewer or even no fans in the stadiums have made players, managers, and coaching teams more polite. There have been fewer altercations, both on the pitch and on the sidelines.
The study was posted on Nature.com and was performed to analyse the effect that playing in front of no fans has on the behaviour of players and staff. The study was performed on Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga across 20 games in 2020.
While the sample size is small and there are other mitigating factors that could lead to different results in other leagues such as the Premier League, the findings were interesting, to say the least.
Comparing the games with regular games from the season before, the study showed that:
• Players committed 3.8% fewer fouls
• There were 13.5% fewer cards handed out
• There were 19.5% fewer emotional situations
• Referees were involved in 14.2% fewer emotional situations
• Arguments and discussions among players and coaching teams reduced by 4.7% and 5.1%, respectively
• There were 20% more goals were scored in games with no fans
There does seem to be a case that a lack of fans produces less pressure, tension, and expectation which in normal circumstances can lead to an increased chance of stress, anger, and emotional responses.
Where are you Watching Football Online?
No fans in the stadium also affect us, the fans, as we now have to find other ways to watch the best football matches. We are forced to use live streaming football services, which, while great, are not going to replace being sat in a packed stadium.
If you do watch football online using streams, there are some great resources out there to help you find the football and sports streams you want. We suggest sites like 101 Great Goals for original news, live streaming, and transfer rumours for all major clubs around Europe and the rest of the world.
Our Take on the Findings
Having a crowd in games brings a lot of expectation whether it is the huge Theatre of Dreams or the basic Crown Ground. Let’s say a striker runs through on goal and is in a 1 on 1 situation with the goalkeeper. How many times have we seen a striker miss what is usually an easy opportunity such as this? A lot of that can be put down to the pressure of the situation. In training, they would score 9 times out of 10 but in front of a packed stadium, nerves can get to a player.
As for politeness, this could be more a case of fewer fans meaning more is picked up on microphones. We have no doubt that television companies and streaming services have pushed clubs to curb swearing which is usually muffled out by the sound of the crowd.
We do accept that no crowds can lead to being less intensity on the pitch. The pressure is not as intense and this should create fewer emotional reactions and fouls on the pitch. In some cases, matches often look like training games or friendlies.
What do You Think?
Have you noticed that there are more goals, fewer fouls, and more politeness on the football in the matches you have watched? Many of you probably just want to be back in the stadiums and are not bothered – something we totally understand.