Examining the influence of skin tone on playing position in the Premier and English Football Leagues

Within the present manuscript we explore the role of skin tone on playing position within English football’s top four professional leagues. Player data (N = 4,515) was collected across five seasons (2010-2015). Results indicate that in general, darker skin toned players are more likely to operate within peripheral rather than central positions. Using both one and two-way ANOVAs, results suggest significant differences between skin tone and individual playing positions. Between league differences were, however, non-significant. Although darker skin toned players are still more likely to occupy peripheral positions, the situation is more nuanced than first thought. Instead of segregating players by central versus peripheral roles, it appears that darker skin toned players occupy positions associated with athleticism. In contrast, lighter skin toned players appear to fulfil roles requiring organization and communication skills.

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