Coffee Club: Do Referees Play Favorites on the Field?

Published 06/18 2014 10:41AM

Updated 06/18 2014 10:53AM

Some sports fans call it "home cooking." It's when a ref favors the team from his or her hometown. But does this really happen on an international level?

Teams from 32 countries are represented at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and along with the top players come the top soccer referees from around the world. 

Brigham Young University researched favoritism on the field by analyzing 2,500 matches over 12 seasons of the European Champions League. 

The results? They found that players from a referee's home country were called for fewer fouls and their opponents get called for more fouls. Research also shows the favoritism intensifies at home games and as tournaments progress into later stages.

FIFA does make an effort to prevent bias at the World Cup. Referees are pulled from 40 different countries to create a sense of fairness. It is also relying on technology to monitor play and help eliminate human error.

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