Fans think crowds sway referees
Liverpool fans celebrate at Anfield in a 2005 file photo. Most football fans in Britain believe crowds influence referees' decisions during matches, according to a survey released on Thursday.
Most football fans in Britain believe crowds influence referees' decisions during matches, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The national poll of 2,517 fans conducted for the Dana Centre at the Science Museum in London revealed that 98 percent of fans think crowds have an impact on decisions.
More than half, however, did not think bias was a problem.
When asked which football club gets the most favourable refereeing decisions because of their crowd, 59 percent said Manchester United followed by 15 percent for Chelsea, seven percent for Arsenal and one percent for Newcastle.
But Newcastle fans thought they exerted the most influence over referees.
"I believe that referees are influenced by environmental pressures -- exactly how that happens is inconclusive ," said Professor Alan Nevill of the University of Wolverhampton who has studied soccer crowds.
His research showed that noise had an impact on decisions in favour of the home team.
Former international referee David Elleray discussed the findings of the survey on Thursday at a science-of-football event at the Dana Centre.