Skin colour impacts football position, Essex study finds

Does the colour of your skin have an impact on your football position? Credit: ITV News Anglia

The colour of your skin still has a big impact on which position footballers play, according to new research from the University of Essex.

It found that players with darker skin were more likely to occupy wide positions associated with athleticism and strength.

Meanwhile, those with lighter skin often filled the central positions - normally thought to require organisation and creativity.

The research is the most thorough investigation of its kind outside of the United States, where the influence of skin tone on playing position has been studied extensively in American football and basketball.

The results showed that although players of a darker skin tone still primarily occupy peripheral playing positions and players of a lighter skin tone central positions, the difference is less prominent than previously reported.

The new study had access to data collated, reviewed, and ratified by Sports Interactive - the makers of computer game Football Manager.

"What sets this research apart is that the research analysed data from 4,515 players, that is, every player in English football's top four professional leagues across five seasons (2010-2015)."

– Lead researcher Dr John Mills