Day drinking and early kick-offs linked to rise in domestic abuse after football matches

·2-min read
Manchester United play a Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester (PA)
Manchester United play a Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester (PA)

Domestic abuse increases when football matches kick off before 7pm, according to a new study which suggests alcohol consumption is to blame rather than heightened emotions over a bad result.

Researchers examined eight years of police data for the Greater Manchester area together with the timings of almost 800 games played by Manchester United and Manchester City.

They discovered that while the hourly rate of incidents decreased by five per cent during a match, it began increasing after the final whistle and peaked around ten hours later.

This rise was "entirely driven" by men abusing their female partners after drinking alcohol, said Tom Kirchmaier, study author and director of the policing and crime research group at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"The increase also only seen between partners living together – there was no similar rise in ex-partner domestic abuse."

However the rise in abuse was only seen when games were scheduled at midday or in the afternoon, with no increase when games kicked off after 7pm.

The study, published by LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), also found that a shock defeat for either Manchester club had no effect on the rate of domestic abuse.

The authors claimed their research may provide the "first causal evidence of the role of day drinking on domestic abuse".

They have now called for more weekday matches and evening kick-offs to reduce the amount of time available for alcohol consumption.

Ria Ivandic, research economist at CEP, said: "Delaying the start of the games until the evening and scheduling them on weekdays would help prevent a considerable amount of domestic abuse.

“These results suggest that sporting events do not trigger domestic abuse by themselves, but rather through the excessive alcohol consumption that usually follows these events.

“Games scheduled at midday or afternoon enable perpetrators to start drinking early and continue throughout the day, leading to a peak in domestic abuse in the late evening by perpetrators who have been drinking."

On average there were around nine recorded cases of domestic abuse every two hours across Greater Manchester between 2012 and 2019.

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