The cultural norms of a society can be seen on their athletic fields. Previous research, such as cultural spillover theory, has elucidated the link between society and behavior in sports. This paper aims to examine the relationship between penalties on the soccer field and human development. Data pertaining to penalties, in the form of red and yellow cards, were collected from all teams participating in the FIFA World Cup between 1990 and 2006. In addition, Human Development Index (HDI) scores were also collected for each participating team. The data were then analyzed at both the individual team level and the conference level to estimate correlation coefficients. A linear regression model was then calculated. These procedures were then repeated with a subset of the data representing teams advancing to the second round of the World Cup competition in each year. Both linear regressions presented significant coefficients with negative values for a country’s HDI. The results of these regressions demonstrate that as a country’s HDI score increases their penalties per game decreases showing soccer may be a reflection of a participant’s society.
|Keywords:||Soccer, FIFA World Cup, Cultural Norms, Linear Regression, Human Development Index|
Graduate Student, Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA