This work examines the relationship between national identity and conflict during international sporting tournaments and the impact of referees as an institutional countermeasure. The empirical analysis covers the FIFA World, Confederations and Under 20's World Cups and Olympic tournaments from 1994 to 2014, resulting in 1152 individual matches. We use the issuing of cards (red and yellow) and the number of sanctions (fouls) as a conflict proxy, plus macro-level national identity markers to determine between team variations. Our results indicate that national identity is robustly significant in the prediction of conflict, whereas the match-specific variables seem to be of less importance. Additionally, we observe that referees are a highly successful control of on-field aggression.
- national identity