Science and Soccer

By Thomas Reilly; A. Mark Williams | Go to book overview

16

Soccer violence

Benny Peiser and John Minten

Introduction

Football in its varying forms is, without doubt, the most popular sport in the world. It is also the sport most discussed, studied, evaluated and scientifically analysed. Whilst rugby or American football are almost exclusively played in Western and Commonwealth countries, soccer is by far the biggest global sport. As a result, the world-wide football business is considered to be the most lucrative sport industry, estimated to be worth in the region of £150 billion per year (Syzmanski and Kuypers, 1999).

Currently, the Federation Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA) represents 204 national soccer associations which in total constitute around 220 million active members (both male and female). According to FIFA, there are some 150 million active players. Altogether, 1.3 million referees officiate weekly at soccer matches for some 600 000 soccer clubs which represent some 4 million soccer teams world-wide. Together with an estimated 200-300 million additional soccer players who are not organized in clubs or associations affiliated to FIFA, in particular pupils and students involved in school sport, there are an estimated 400-500 million active soccer players world-wide. This impressive number indicates that some 10% of the world's population are, in one way or another, participating in soccer.

Soccer is the only sport which attracts almost the entire world population. For example, the 1998 World Cup final was watched by well over 3 billion people around the globe. It has become a multi-billion business, thereby transforming a nineteenth-century elite sport into the single biggest leisure industry in the world. The universal appeal, popularity and economic weight of soccer has also led to the application of scientific research into an ever growing number of questions and problems.


16.1Soccer violence: a brief history

The origins of modern soccer are rooted in pagan blood rituals. Ancient ball games such as the Persian buzkashi, the Mesoamerican peloya, or the Roman harpastum were extremely violent and cruel contests which involved killings, blood sacrifices and serious injuries. When, during the fourth century AD, Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, all pagan rituals, in particular Greek and Roman athletic and gladiatorial contests, were radically suppressed. The majority of these traditional games were associated with heathen and sacrificial cults which Christianity tried to eradicate (Peiser, 1997). The violent nature also contradicted the very basis of Judeo-Christian ethics. Jews and Christians were uncompromising in their attitude toward pagan spectacles. They attacked the very

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Science and Soccer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1 - Introduction to Science and Soccer 1
  • Part 1 - Biology and Soccer 7
  • 2 - Functional Anatomy 9
  • 3 - Fitness Assessment 21
  • 4 - Physiology of Training 47
  • 5 - Motion Analysis and Physiological Demands 59
  • 6 - Nutrition 73
  • 7 - Different Populations 96
  • Part 2 - Biomechanics and Soccer Medicine 107
  • 8 - Biomechanics Applied to Soccer Skills 109
  • References 118
  • 9 - The Biomechanics of Soccer Surfaces and Equipment 120
  • 10 - Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation 136
  • 11 - Psychology and Injury in Soccer 148
  • 12 - Environmental Stress 165
  • Part 3 - Behavioural Science and Soccer 185
  • 13 - Coaching Science and Soccer 187
  • 14 - Skill Acquisition 198
  • 15 - Stress, Performance and Motivation Theory 214
  • References 227
  • 16 - Soccer Violence 230
  • Part 4 - Match Analysis 243
  • 17 - Notational Analysis 245
  • 18 - The Science of Match Analysis 265
  • 19 - Information Technology 276
  • References 283
  • Part 5 - Growth and Adolescence 285
  • 20 - Growth and Maturity Status of Young Soccer Players 287
  • 21 - Identifying Talented Players 307
  • Index 327
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