Football culture and domestic violence

Whenever a major televised football tournament takes place, there are suggestions in the media that it may lead to an increase in domestic violence. Philip Johnson, a Chartered Psychologist who has also worked as a police officer and a social worker, says that the effect is real and that it is related, not just to alcohol, but to the culture of football itself:

“Football has a particular sport culture, which separates it from rugby union and cricket, especially in relation to the way players respond to authority - especially referees. My research into player indiscipline towards referees, carried out in 2004, contrasted football with the Rugby World Cup of 2003, where referees kept control, explained their decisions, which were also communicated over loudspeaker to spectators.

My research demonstrated that in less that one per cent of cases does a football referee change his mind, so complaint is fruitless, and that players lose performance. Spectators in football, I consider, are then 'fired up' by theor perception apparent injustice of the decision.”

Mr Johnson welcomes the fact that the police are being proactive in making the wider public more aware of domestic violence after games:

“Strategies can be developed to protect children and partners, either by avoidance of confrontation, or by negotiating limits on their make partner's alcohol consumption.

“In addition, local charities that support women (mainly) in domestic violence can be available alongside the police. I view this as providing psychological support to families, where there is a history of post-match domestic violence.”