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The Role of Alcohol in the Link Between Football Tournaments and Domestic Abuse

COPR members and WBS colleagues, Professor Neil Stewart, Dr Anna Trendl and Dr Tim Mullett, have published a new study in the journal, Social Science & Medicine, exploring the link between football, alcohol, and domestic abuse in England. The findings suggest that England football team victories increase alcohol-related domestic abuse.

The relationship between football results and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is increasingly recognised as a serious public health concern worldwide. Previous research has suggested a link between national football tournaments and domestic abuse. While hypothesised to be a significant factor, the role alcohol plays in this relationship has not yet been explored quantitatively.

In this study, using 10 years' worth of crime data (from 2010 to 2019) from England's second largest police force (West Midlands Police), we explored the effect of England draws, losses and wins in national football tournaments on the number of alcohol and non-alcohol-related domestic abuse cases reported to the police. Results from a series of negative binomial regression analyses show that the number of reported alcohol-related domestic abuse cases increases by 47%, 95% confidence interval [26%–71%], following an England football victory.

This effect is limited to alcohol-related cases. The estimate translates into a 0.53, 95% CI [0.3–0.8], increase in the daily rate of alcohol-related cases per 100,000 individuals.

The England win effect survives various robustness checks (including the re-analysis of a dataset from another geographical area in England), and its time course is strongly consistent with a causal link between England's football victories and an increase in alcohol-related domestic abuse.

We also found a comparable increase in the number of other (not classified as domestic abuse) alcohol-related violent crimes on England win days. Further research is required to understand the exact causal pathway between national football tournaments, alcohol consumption, and violent behaviours in domestic settings.

Read the full paper