Importance of shirt colour:
Attrill et al (2008) Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football. Journal of Sports Sciences. 26:577-582
The colour of sportswear has been shown to influence the outcome of bouts for several different combat sports. The generality of these effects, and whether they extend to collaborative forms of contests (team sports), is uncertain. Since 1947, English football teams wearing red shirts have been champions more often than expected on the basis of the proportion of clubs playing in red. To investigate whether this indicates an enhancement of long-term performance in red-wearingteams, we analysed the relative league positions of teams wearing different hues. Across all league divisions, red teams had the best home record, with significant differences in both percentage of maximum points achieved and mean position in the home league table. The effects were not due simply to a difference between teams playing in a colour and those playing in a predominantly white uniform, as the latter performed better than teams in yellow hues. No significant differences were found for performance in matches away from home, when teams commonly do not wear their “home” colours. A matched-pairs analysis of red and non-red wearing teams in eight English cities shows significantly better performance of red teams over a 55-year period. These effects on long-term success have consequences for colour selection in team sports, confirm that wearing red enhances performance in a variety of competitive contexts, and provide further impetus for studies of the mechanisms underlying these effects.
Pollard & Gomez (2009) Home advantage in football in South-West Europe: Long-term trends, regional variation, and team differences. European Journal of Sport Science. 9:341-352We examined the trends in home advantage in the professional football leagues of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal since the start of each league more than 70 years ago. A total of 81,185 games were included, involving 244 different teams. Home advantage was quantified each season for each country as the number of points gained at home expressed as a percentage of all points gained at home and away. Home advantage was generally high in the early years of each league, especially in Spain and Italy (over 70%). There were then considerable fluctuations up to the late 1970s. During this time, home advantage was consistently highest in Spain, which could be explained by greater regional autonomy and more distinct local cultural identity. Since then there has been a major decline in all the countries, especially since the late 1990s. Each country has experienced its lowest ever level (60% or less) during the last four seasons. Possible explanations for this include the effects of changes that have taken place in the rules of football, such as greater use of substitutes and a series of new laws intended to discourage defensive play. In addition, free agency coupled with the rapid commercial development of football has weakened the relationship between players and their home city and fans. There were significant differences between teams within France, Italy, and Portugal (all P < 0.001) but not Spain (P =0.145). Home advantage was higher for teams from the islands of Corsica and Sicily (P < 0 .001) and to a lesser extent Sardinia (P = 0.095). It was lower in teams that play in the four capital cities and also in Milan, whose two teams share the same stadium. This is consistent with the belief that the territorial feelings fostered in isolated, culturally distinct communities can lead to increased home advantage, while the reverse is the case in large cosmopolitan urban areas.
Diving (booooo, no one likes it and we hope there isn't much in Brazil!):
Morris & Lewis (2010) Tackling Diving: The Perception of Deceptive Intentions in Association Football (Soccer). Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. 34:1-13The three studies reported examine judgment about the attempts of footballers (soccer players) to deceptively exaggerate the effect of a tackle. Study one reveals that non-professional participants agree about which players were attempting deception and those that were not; there was also agreement about the tackles in which the intentions were ambiguous. Study two demonstrates that the intentions of tackled players match the judgment of their intentions by observers. Study three provides a taxonomy of behaviors that are associated with deceptive and non deceptive intentions. We conclude that deceptive intentions in this context are to a degree manifest in behavior and are observable.
And I can't resist: C'MON ENGEEEEERLAND!