Influence of competition level on observed antisocial behaviours in soccer players
This study examined the influence of competition level on observed antisocial behaviours in soccer players. Data corresponding to different categories of a soccer club were obtained by an archival method, using sanctions from 285 referees´game summary sheets. No antisocial behaviours were punished in the 7 to 9 years-old categories, with a progression thereafter until a maximum of 2.4 sanctions per game in the 21 years-old category. Significant differences emerged among players in the different categories for behaviours such as fault to gain possession of the ball, discussing the referee´s decisions, holding and opponent, or delaying the restart of play. There were no sanctions for those behaviours in the lower categories, increasing their numbers from the 11-12 years-old category until the higher competitive levels. Other behaviours, such as making contact with the opponent before touching the ball, striking or threatening an opponent, and offensive or insulting language directed to the referee or to an opponent, first appeared in the 13-14 years-old players, but number of sanctions remained low and similar in the different competitive levels. Our data confirm that playing experience may be an important determinant of antisocial behaviours. However, the various types work differently, and are instrumental behaviours those that clearly increase as a function of competitive level.
Palabras Clave: Antisocial behaviour, soccer, competition level, age