Just like at Christmas and New Year's, reports show that domestic violence rates escalate during the month of the World Cup Finals. One would assume that increased consumption of alcohol—which is socially accepted and expected at both the holidays and major sporting events—could be the impetus behind such fights, but researchers have found that it has more to do with heightened emotional tension.
After the U.K.'s Home Office released a report claiming that the number of cases of domestic violence rose during the 2006 World Cup, Professor Allan Brimicombe and BBC News journalist Rebecca Café decided to analyze the theory more closely. Obtaining police reports from the time period of the 2010 World Cup games, they compared the data to that of police reports from a "football-free period" in 2009. Without looking at the specifics of the cases, and merely using the reports for statistics, they couldn't be sure that the outcomes of games were directly responsible for starting the fights.
However, they found that when England was slaughtered by Germany in a 4 - 1 defeat, domestic violence rose by a staggering 31.5 percent. However, victories also increased incidences of abuse: a few days earlier in the tournament, when England beat Slovenia, domestic violence still rose by 27.7 percent.
Most telling, though, is that when there was a tie game, domestic violence only increased by 0.1 percent. Another game that ended in a draw actually resulted in a drop of domestic violence by 1.9 percent. So it would seem that the emotional highs and lows of big wins and big losses were enough to incite the kind of drama that would lead to domestic disputes. The researchers clarified their findings by saying:
It is not that football tournaments cause the violence, but rather that the excitement, disappointment and flow of adrenalin resulting from watching a national team play may exacerbate existing tensions within a relationship and result in lost tempers and violence or abuse.
Oh, and they conceded that perhaps booze does have a hand in such fighting.
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