Rugby and football spectator propensity to violence : a comparative analysis

27 Mar 2015

Rugby and football (soccer) are both international sports, and economic entities in their own right, as evidenced by the growth in attendance and television viewer ship at the respective World Cups. The issue of sport as catharsis, or conversely, as aggression-generating event, has always been controversial. In order to assess the orientation of rugby and soccer spectators towards violence, 404 spectators were surveyed. Results indicate significant differences between rugby and soccer spectators, with soccer spectators exhibiting higher levels of aggression towards the referee and opposing players. It emerged that the concept of sport as catharsis is not a reality when the spectators? side loses a match. A call is made for extensive education of all role players in soccer if the sport is not to be negatively affected.