Soccer Penalties and Human Development

By Stephen Imperiale-Hagerman.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.9-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 707.361KB).

Stephen Imperiale-Hagerman

Graduate Student, Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

I am a second year doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia. I have also received a masters degree in Kinesiology from St. Mary’s College of California. My research focus is in coach education and how sport can positively impact the lives of participants.