Point system in the European leagues have changed from two points to three points. This kind of point system is also used in the current FIFA World Cup 2010.
The researchers used the number of red cards issued in each match during the 94/95 and 95/96 seasons, when the change was made in the scoring system, as an indicator of 'sabotage' in the matches.
"There was a significant change in the number of red cards given during the second season in comparison with the first. We can see there has been an increase in red cards given to teams that are winning, and this can easily be attributed to the change in the points system," explained the study.
"If wins are important in a league of 38 matches, with 20 teams playing, even enough they account for little more than 2 percent of the total of the league, then they take on much greater importance in a World Cup, given that only three matches are played in the first round, meaning that drawing or winning as much more impact," said Juan Prieto, co-author of the study and a researcher at the University of Oviedo.