What is the connection between football championships and domestic violence?

According to a study conducted in the UK, domestic violence cases reach its peak during major football events.

The World Cup is the most important event in the world of sports, which both players and fans look forward to for 4 years. More than 1.4 million people visited Qatar in the past month for the 2022 World Cup.

However, it is interesting that during this period domestic violence reaches its peak – the study was conducted in Great Britain. Let’s consider the effect of emotions on fans during the championship and how to deal with them.

The BI Team (a global behavioral insights company) published an interesting article on how football relates to domestic violence and how it can be tackled using behavioral science.

The researchers found that reports of domestic violence increase by 26% when the England team wins or draws and by 38% when the national team loses.

From a science perspective, it is important to do in-depth research on issues like this because the more we know, the better we can develop strategies to address these issues and encourage peaceful behavior using behavioral science.

Dickson et al. And Ivandić et al. found that cases of domestic violence actually decrease during matches. This indicates that the bullies are paying attention to the game. However, both studies found that domestic violence increases dramatically before and after the match.

According to some hypotheses, the connection between violence and football is due to emotional arousal and excessive alcohol consumption.

When Ivandić et al. tried to separate alcohol from emotional arousal, they found that the increase in football-related domestic violence was almost entirely due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Another interesting finding is that the timing of the match may have a significant effect on rates of domestic violence. In particular, it was found that during matches that start before 7 pm, a much higher level of violence is recorded. Probably, this is due to the fact that after the match that started earlier, its spectators have the opportunity to consume alcohol for a long time throughout the evening.

According to the BI Team, a solution to reduce football-related domestic violence may be to manage the timing of matches: to play them in the evening hours and/or to reduce the interval between matches. Of course, this is difficult to implement, especially during such international events as the World Cup.

If Ivandić et al.’s and Trendl et al.’s findings are accurate and alcohol is a major cause of football-related domestic violence, then alcohol restriction policies should be strongly considered.

The BI Team suggests  to limit the broadcasting of the matches, for instances – allow broadcasting only in pubs, which might at least slightly reduce alcohol consumption (alcohol is more expensive in pubs). Another venue for televising are schools or community centers may be allowed, which may reduce football-related domestic violence.

Either way, the aim of any intervention should be to ensure that football fans are not deprived of the opportunity to enjoy the process and at the same time protect the society from conflicts and violence. Using sciencebacked research data and proven methods of behavior change allows us to do just that – to push people to better and more inclusive behavior without unjustified prohibitions.

Along the domestic violence while watching the championship, there is an issue of violating human rights in the country of the championship  itself, as finds the report of Human Rights Watch. 

A wave of criticism against Qatar began after the small Persian Gulf state won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010. There were many opinions that this decision was actually a corrupt deal.

This is not the end of the criticism of the oil-rich country. Moreover, the wave of criticism has increased over the years, the main reasons of which were corrupt deals, bad treatment of employees, constant violation of human rights and lack of democracy in the country.

Migrant Workers

According to the Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar between 2010 and 2021.

In addition to the deaths, Amnesty International reports that more than 100,000 migrants have suffered exploitation and abuse in Qatar over the past 12 years, due to poor labour rights and poor access to justice.

Women’s Rights

According to Qatari law, women must have male guardians, without whom women are not allowed to make decisions about their lives – including marriage, travel, the workplace and access to certain reproductive health services.

Although the law prohibits husbands from physically or morally harming their wives, Qatar has no domestic violence law, nor measures to protect victims or punish perpetrators. Also, no law explicitly prohibits corporal punishment of children.

Freedom of Expression

In January 2020, Qatar tightened its criminal code and imposed a  fine of 100,000 Qatari riyals (about $27,465) for spreading rumours or false electronic information a. The Code does not specify who defines what constitutes a rumour or “false information.”

In August and September, newly introduced electoral laws that effectively strip Qataris of the right to vote and vote in Qatar’s first parliamentary party have sparked controversy and debate on social media as small-scale demonstrations. The Qatari government has responded to criticism by prosecuting seven people on charges of “spreading false news” and “inciting racial and ethnic strife”.


Qatar’s decision to forcibly strip families of the Gufrani clan of the Al-Mura tribe from 1996 has left countless people stateless and denied access to basic human rights, leaving hundreds of thousands of Qataris completely disenfranchised.

Stateless members of the Ghufran clan are deprived of the right to work, health care, education, marriage and family formation, property ownership and freedom of movement.

Sexual Orientation and Morality Laws

In Qatar, men and women who have sex outside of marriage face 7 years in prison (Article 281 of the Qatari Criminal Code). HRW says it disproportionately affects women who have been raped. “Police often do not believe women who have been victims of sexual violence. Instead, believe the men who claim that the relationship was consensual.”

For years, the rights of representatives of the LGBTQI+ community have been systematically violated in Qatar. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2019-2022, police officers physically assaulted 6 representatives of the community and sexually assaulted 5 of them. According to the organisation’s report, 4 transgender women, 1 bisexual woman and 1 gay man were illegally locked in an underground prison by the police. One of them spent two months there. One transgender woman told human rights activists that she was being forced to “become a man again”.

In Qatar, homosexuality is criminalised and punishable by five years in prison.

Climate Change Policy and Actions

As a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, Qatar is contributing to the climate crisis, which is causing the greatest harm to human rights and health worldwide. The country has the sixth highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita globally.

Key International Actors

In January, Saudi Arabia ended years of isolation from Qatar that began in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates closed their borders to Qatar and expelled Qatari citizens from their country. The reason for this was Qatar’s support for terrorism and ties with Iran.


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