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Increasing offensive or defensive efficiency? An analysis of Italian and Spanish football

  • Boscá, José E.
  • Liern, Vicente
  • Martínez, Aurelio
  • Sala, Ramøn

This paper analyses technical efficiency of Italian and Spanish football during three recent seasons, to shed light on the sport performance of professional football clubs. To achieve this we have used mathematical optimisation methods, particularly DEA models, which enable the calculation of the frontiers of efficient production. Some of the most interesting results are the following. Firstly, the Spanish league is clearly more homogeneous and competitive than the Italian league. Secondly, to obtain a better classification in the Italian league, it is much more important to improve defensive, rather than offensive, efficiency. The popular maxim holds in Italy: the best attack begins with a good defence. Third, in Spain our analysis supports the idea that to improve the ranking in the league, the best-rewarded strategy consists in improving offensive efficiency playing at home ground, followed by increasing offensive efficiency when playing away from home.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Omega.

Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 63-78

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:63-78
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  1. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  2. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-30, December.
  3. Fiona Carmichael & Dennis Thomas & Robert Ward, 2000. "Team performance: the case of English Premiership football," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 31-45.
  4. Zak, Thomas A & Huang, Cliff J & Siegfried, John J, 1979. "Production Efficiency: The Case of Professional Basketball," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 379-92, July.
  5. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson & Bill Gerrard, 2000. "Stochastic Frontiers and the Temporal Structure of Managerial Efficiency in English Soccer," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 341-362, November.
  6. Rajiv D. Banker, 1993. "Maximum Likelihood, Consistency and Data Envelopment Analysis: A Statistical Foundation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1265-1273, October.
  7. Joaquín Maudos Villarroya & José Manuel Pastor Monsálvez & Lorenzo Serrano Martínez, 1997. "Convergencia en las regiones españolas: cambio técnico, eficiencia y productividad," Working Papers. Serie EC 1997-20, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  8. Sloane, Peter J, 1971. "The Economics of Professional Football: The Football Club as a Utility Maximiser," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 18(2), pages 121-46, June.
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