Competitive balance in the top level of English football, 1948–2008: an absent principle and a forgotten ideal

J. Curran, I. Jennings, John Sedgwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Competitive balance is thought to be an important aspect of sport. Notions of ‘equity’ or ‘fair play’ appeal to the concept of competitive balance. Focusing upon the period between 1948 and 2008, this paper uses data from the top division of English football to investigate what has happened to competitive balance through the use of three measures. The first measure is an index, similar to a concentration ratio, that seeks to capture the extent to which the four most successful teams, by decade, have dominated the league. The second measure uses the Herfindahl index to discover the number of competitive teams in the league over the six decades. The final measure looks, season by season, at the probability of repeat success. The results suggest, from all three measures, that competitive balance has decreased and that the ‘beautiful game’ in England is in danger of becoming a monopoly of the few.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1747
Number of pages13
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Competitive balance in the top level of English football, 1948–2008: an absent principle and a forgotten ideal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this