Study aim: To assess the frequency, timing, zone and player category of fouls and of aggressive behaviour in professional football.
Material and methods: Video recordings of 17 matches played by one team out of 18 of the Turkish Football Super League with all other teams were analysed with the use of observational foul analysis form. The following criteria were considered: time, score of the match, zone, players' position and foul category. The fouls were analysed in 6 periods of a match, 15 min each. Foul location in the football field was analysed in four zones according to player's positions: Defence, Defence mid-zone, Offensive mid-zone and Attack.
Results: Eleven out of 17 analyzed matches 11 were won, 3 were lost and 3 were even. A total of 652 fouls were recorded, mean numbers of fouls per match amounting to 24.2, 87.0 and 41.7 in won, lost and even matches, respectively. Most of the fouls (50.8%) were committed by middle zone players mostly in the defensive and offensive middle zones (33.9%). Only 1.2% of all fouls were unintentional, 11% were intentional, hostile, the other ones were intentional, instrumental.
Conclusions: The fouls could be attributed to the social learning theory that values the environmental factor in the cognitive process of aggression. The presented results may be of help to football coaches and sport psychologists teaching players how to control aggression and how to play the game wit minimum harm while increasing their performance.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.