Young sportsmen's perception of unsporting behaviors in soccer


Our aim was to study young sportsmen and not sportsmen's perception of unsporting common situations in soccer games. Participants were 180 individuals (16-18 years old, 90 male, 90 female) distributed in three groups: amateur soccer players (n=60), amateur basketball players (n=60) and not sportsmen (n=60, participants that did not practice sports regularly). A questionnaire presenting 18 common unsporting situations in a soccer game was developed. The unsporting behavior was initiated by a member of the local team/supporter in half of the situations, and in the other half by a member of the rival team. Participants were told these situations occurred in a regular amateur soccer game. Participants judged (Likert scale, 1-5) to what extent they considered each situation as an example of a violent behavior. The second part of the questionnaire introduced the same situations, but both protagonists and victims of the unsporting behavior were well known soccer players of Real Madrid, Barcelona & Atlético de Madrid (half of them considered as examples of high fair play, the other half as often showing poor fair play). Results showed that soccer players perceived the unsporting behaviors significantly as less violent than the other groups. Male participants also judged the unsporting behaviors as significantly less violent than female participants. Unsporting behaviors initiated by high fair play famous soccer players were rated as less violent than those ones initiated by low fair play soccer stars. This effect occurred significantly more in the female group. In-group bias was found only in the soccer players group.

Acknowledgments: This study was performed thanks to grant DEP2011-27282 (Designing Multimedia Tools for Learning and Teaching Sports in curricular and non-curricular Contexts) awarded to the first author by MINECO (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, National Plan of i+D+i) for the period 2012-2015