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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 10:24 UK
Goalkeepers 'best in red' says Sussex researcher

Goalkeeper David James
Goalkeeper David James will not be wearing red in the World Cup.

Red goalie jumpers could make all the difference to England's World Cup squad - according to a Sussex academic.

Dr Iain Greenlees says that the colour red makes strikers less able to score.

Research at the University of Chichester found that goalkeepers in red kept out twice as many penalties as those in other colours.

But they are not yet clear exactly why that should be - the next step is to decide on an explanation.

"One is that human beings innately are pre-disposed to be wary of the colour red, so in nature red is often a sign of danger, poisonous fruits are often coloured red, when humans get angry and aggressive they often go red in the face," said Dr Greenlees.

"Or it could just be something that we learn in our early years; that red is commonly associated with warning signs - traffic lights that tell you to stop when they are red. Or it is associated with failure - we get schoolwork covered in red ink,"

The researchers asked 40 university students of equal soccer ability to take a series of penalties, measured their confidence to score penalties and then recorded the number of penalties they scored.

The students faced goalkeepers in different coloured jumpers - red, blue and yellow.

The Chichester team say there is clear historical evidence that red does make a difference on the pitch.

"When we look at archival data from the results of the English First Division and the Premiership over the last fifty or so years that teams that wear red have a significantly greater advantage than teams that wear other colours," said Dr Greenlees.

England's goalkeeper jumpers for the World Cup this year are yellow and blue.


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