Rule changes and incentives in the League of Ireland from 1970 to 2014

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Butler, David
Butler, Robert
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We consider how five rule changes in the League of Ireland have affected the amount of goals scored in the domestic league from 1970 to 2014. Altering the rules represents a significant departure from the previous season and changes the incentive structure for teams. Numerous individual rule changes were imposed on the league during this period, each with the intention of improving playing standards and incentivizing more attacking football. This paper describes the impact of three new points systems introduced in 1981â 1982, 1982â 1983 and 1993â 1994, the introduction of the First Division League in 1985â 1986, and the switch to a single calendar year league with a Marchâ November schedule in 2003 known as Summer Soccer. A retrospective analysis of goals per season and single match outcomes suggests that changes to the points system have not resulted in an increase in the number of goals scored in the Premier Division, nor has the introduction of the First Division.
Rule changes , League of Ireland , Goals scored , Soccer
Butler, D. and Butler, R. (2016) 'Rule changes and incentives in the League of Ireland from 1970 to 2014', Soccer and Society, 18(5-6), pp. 785-799. doi: 10.1080/14660970.2016.1230347
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© 2016, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an item published by Taylor & Francis in Soccer and Society on 29 September 2016, available online: