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October 16, 2006



Phil Scolari caused a bit of a stir before the 2002 world cup for encouraging his side to commit more fouls for this reason. He seems to have backed off after the criticism and his midfield enforcer Emerson was ruled out through injury.

james higham

Only you could write a thing like this, Chris. The economics of dirty football indeed.

Igor Belanov

Arsenal played some very dull, negative football in the Champions League last year, and even at their attacking best have been a dirty side- take Viera for one.


Perhaps scoring goals causes you to commit fouls.
Once you have taken the lead, the other team will be more attacking, you will be on the defensive and have less possession, causing you to commit fouls.

James Hamilton

The biggest problem with the study (which it acknowledges in passing without really exploring it in any way) is that "fouls committed" are fouls committed in the eyes of the referee - which makes fouls the only truly subjective element in the study. Over such a small sample, 125 games, the "luck" factor this involves might well not work itself out. It'd be interesting to see the study extended to cover e.g. every similar Champions League tournament, and also to see a comparison between your own hobbyhorses, league-format and knock-out stages.


James has given me another reason, if you are winning say 3-0, the ref will probably feel sorry for the other team. He will therefore be more strict on the winning team, seeing it won't affect the result anyway.

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