Melbourne, Oct 5 : Over-enthusiastic football fans are to be blamed for encouraging predatory instincts among high-profile players, according to a study.
The research, co-authored by Kim Toffoletti from Deakin University's Faculty of Arts, looked at female fans perspective about players' sexual misconduct.
It revealed that groupies who 'throw themselves' at footballers in nightclubs are responsible for inciting alleged rapes and sexual assaults.
In the study, alcohol, high testosterone levels and team culture were also identified as contributing factors to sexual aggression.
The findings come three weeks after three Brisbane Broncos players were accused of sexual assault in a nightclub toilet.
"When asked about how allegations of sexual assault against footballers may arise, several women identified women's desire to sleep with celebrity players as a possible cause," News.com.au quoted the authors, as saying.
"While the respondents universally condemned sexual violence, some reasoned it could be an outcome of moves initiated by the victims.
Fans believed other women wanted to sleep with well-known footballers to build their own reputations, bragging to friends "if they did score with any," they added.