How empty stadiums affected football during pandemic

Playing professional football games in empty stadiums had a hugely negative effect on the success of home teams, with home advantage almost halved, new research shows.

Home advantage describes the benefit a sports team playing at their own venue is said to enjoy over the visiting team. This could be attributed to the effect of fans on the players or referee; playing in familiar surroundings and the effects of travel on the visiting team. 

The new study, by the University of Leeds and Northumbria University, used the unique opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to test whether home advantage applies when fans are not present in the stands.

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