Were the refs more lenient on the hosts in Russia 2018?

We may be on the eve of the new domestic football season, but before we consign the World Cup, Russia 2018, to history, I just want to share this plot with you.

It compares the fouls committed per game by a team, and the number of yellow cards received.

By eye, there does appear to be some correlation between the number of fouls committed by a team and the amount of yellow cards they received. This would be expected.

The hosts, Russia, do appear to be an outlier – the third most fouling nation, yet their card count was low.

This could be for a number of reasons – e.g. if many of the fouls they commit were for, say, offside, you wouldn’t expect them to be receiving yellow cards for those offences. But everyone loves a good conspiracy theory – perhaps the refs, either intentionally or subconsciously, were a little more reluctant to flash their cards for the home team …

It prompts an interesting question to explore for the forthcoming season: do away teams get carded more frequently than home teams?

Many thanks to Answer Miner  for creating and sharing the plot. You can see his original tweet with it here.

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