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Football: Lack of fans in lockdown saw loss of home advantage

Crowd in football stadium

The roar of the home crowd really does have an impact

Clive Rose/Getty Images

It is a long-held belief that football teams playing in their home stadium get a boost from their fans. However, quantifying this effect on match results was difficult until the pandemic created an unprecedented natural experiment when most of the 2020/21 season was played behind closed doors.

Statistics shared with New Scientist by London-based sports intelligence firm Twenty First Group show that home teams in Europe’s five major men’s football leagues lost a significant home advantage when their games …

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