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Half of married football fans put sport ahead of wife

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One in two football fans admits to putting their love of the sport above their wife, it has been revealed. The true extent to which passion for the game impacts upon wedded bliss was unveiled in the study of 1,000 football fans – and 1,000 suffering wives.

When asked to choose the biggest source of joy in their life, one in seven cheeky fans opted for football over their wife, while one in six ‘couldn’t choose either way’.

The research, commissioned by bookmakers Coral, saw one in ten claim their love of football outweighs the love they have for their wife.

From telling lies to be able to watch games to rushing through meals and family events to get back for Match of the Day, the study saw 51% of wives declare themselves ‘football widows’ – losing their husband completely to the sport at times.

Results also showed nearly two thirds of football fans will ‘drop everything’ when a match is on to be able to watch it.

A spokesman for Coral said:

“For many fans, supporting their team is a lifelong commitment and something they’ve done as long as they can remember.

“The devotion to the game is something that rarely dwindles and the results of the study show even a commitment like marriage isn’t likely to stop that passion.

“Of course it’s important to always love and respect a partner, but as the results show, don’t expect too much from a football fan during that crucial 90 minutes each week, especially if they are one of the many who enjoy a regular footie flutter.”

The study also found 55% will constantly check their phone or rush to nearby screens to keep in the loop when faced with the horrendous task of being out and about with the wife during a match.

And a third of calculating men have treated the wife to a nice meal – but made sure the place they were eating at was showing the football before they booked.

While 45% have scoffed down their food and sped up a meal in order to get home and catch the game or evening highlights.

Such is the devotion to the leather ball that one in four men has passed up sex in order to watch football.

And the game can have an effect on the moods of sensitive supporters -whole weekends are regularly ruined for two thirds of devoted fans when their team loses a match.

Such is football’s power that six in ten men describe football as their way of escaping from the rest of life.

And the obsession takes its toll – a fifth has lied to their partner’s face in order to be able to watch a game while 43% regularly ‘sweeten up’ their partner in order to get football time.

Perhaps no surprises then that more than a quarter have had their wives claim they love the sport more than them.

And with good reason – because one in ten cheeky men claim they love football more than they love their wife, while a similar number were ‘unsure’.

No wonder then that a fifth of wives claim their husband would probably divorce them if they tried to place a ban on watching football.

The Coral spokesman added:

“It’s clear that many a football fan will go to extreme lengths to get behind their team and that unwavering support may not always please their partners.

“Understanding, embracing or if necessary simply just tolerating a partner’s passions is part of any great relationship.

“From unrivalled highs to despairing lows, it might be said that the experiences of the football fan can echo those in many a marriage.”