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Examining racial discrimination in fantasy team selection: the case of Czech soccer fans

Vojtech Kotrba (Department of Economics and Management, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic)
Brendan Dwyer (Center for Sport Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 30 August 2022

Issue publication date: 24 February 2023

130

Abstract

Purpose

Recently, efforts to fight discriminatory behaviour in many sports and to eliminate racial preferences among fans have intensified. However, uncovering discriminatory preferences may not be easy as they may be deeply rooted and even unconscious. This paper aims to discuss the aforementioned issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Unfortunately, professional soccer and fantasy sports participation serves as a vehicle for explicit racial discrimination at a micro-level, but does it translate to the macro-level through fantasy team selection? The current study explored the potential of implicit racial discrimination in Czech participants in the English Premier League.

Findings

Discriminatory behaviour in this context is defined by a consumer demonstrating preference for a white player over a non-white player in the fantasy soccer labour market when both players are performing at equal levels. Controlling for additional factors such as nationality and historically dominant team biases and accessing a more homogenous sample, the results confirmed previous research that racial discrimination cannot be found in team selection decisions among fantasy soccer participants in the Czech Republic. The manifestations of racism are still present at Czech stadiums and among Czech athletes. This contradiction is the major finding of this paper.

Originality/value

Previous research found no evidence of racial discrimination among participants controlling for some game factors. However, the study had many limitations including a heterogeneous sample and not controlling for additional factors of participant bias. Given those concerns, the current study analysed line-up decisions of English Premier League participants, but did so with participants solely within the Czech Republic, a more homogenous sample, controlling for additional important factors that could impact racial discrimination among fantasy participants.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to Roman Janko (www.rjwebdesign.cz) for providing the fantasy league raw data.

Citation

Kotrba, V. and Dwyer, B. (2023), "Examining racial discrimination in fantasy team selection: the case of Czech soccer fans", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 248-267. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-02-2022-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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