Presence of foreign footballers and its impact on attitudes to immigration
1Football is the sport that attracts most attention, the widest following and the strongest emotional involvement on an international scale. In Spain, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Sociological Research in 2014, nearly 70% of respondents stated that they were fans or supporters of a football club.
2The presence of foreign footballers in European national leagues has increased substantially over the last three decades. The aim of the study on which this article is based is to clarify the relationship between the participation of immigrants in football and the attitudes, behaviours and opinions held by citizens who are football fans with regard to immigration.
3The results of the study suggest that, within the population that supports a given football club, attitudes to the phenomenon of migration improve when foreign players contribute to the achievements of the club to which they belong.
Relationship between attitudes to immigration (measured on a scale from 0 to 10) and number of minutes played by foreigners in teams that won La Liga (left) and in those teams that reached a higher position than expected in budget terms (right) in the eight seasons analysed (from the 2001-2002 season to the 2015-2016 season).