NOTE: After some great feedback from our readers I decided to remake the table and add more information. Thanks for the feedback and the new table is added after my 9.51 comment
By Walter Broeckx
After having 20 games done in the EPL so far this season by myself and my team of ref reviewers I wanted to take a look at the wrong calls. I know some will say this is too early but I just wanted to give you a first impression. Later in the season we can compare this and see how things have changed or didn’t change.
First of all what are wrong calls? Well a wrong call is when a ref has just got it wrong. Let us say he gives a goal that should have been cancelled for offside. Or a player scored with this hand. For whatever reason the ref didn’t see it and gave the goal. Wrong.
But wrong calls also are about something that is not been given. A player gets a shove in the back loses the control over the ball but the ref doesn’t give the foul. Wrong.
As I have been saying for a while now and something that will be confirmed by every ref who knows how to stay under the radar when it comes to silently and invisibly trying to have an influence: not calling fouls is the master piece for doing so.
So it is the number of obvious wrong calls that everyone can see but also the not given fouls (that mostly go unnoticed because the ball keeps moving and no replays being shown) that we will have a closer look at in this article.
Now we all now that there can be different kinds of bias. Let us start with the most obvious. Human beings are influenced by the reaction of the crowd. This is not me who has invented it but in the past research has been done and well how hard you try you could get some influence by listening to the crowd. What I call the home advantage bias. Now this is a bias that should even out at the end of the season. In a perfect world. And we all know we live in a perfect world by now. Fact is that you could expect a 60/40 division in the calls when you are at home compared to being away. Again this is something that has been researched and who am I to doubt it.
So if you see a home team getting the benefit of 60% of the wrong calls this just could be down to the ref being influenced by the home crowd. But like I said next week you play away and you get only 40% benefit from the wrong calls. And so it should even out.
Another bias is the “big team bias”. The big team gets all the calls. The big team always gets the benefit of the doubt. As the first bias (home advantage bias) is something human, the second one (big team bias) is already not that nice anymore. Because as a ref you shouldn’t look at the names of the teams but just at the events on the fields. Refs who expose such a big team bias are not good refs in my eyes.
And then you can have other sorts of bias. Like what I would call the “wind direction” bias. North versus South, East versus West. Local dislikes against a certain region or part of the country. A kind of anti-capital bias. I must admit that I cannot look further at this. It might exist but surely people should have got over this what I would call little town mentality by now? Have they?
But enough of the theoretical blah blah, let us get on to the numbers we have gathered with our team so far. We will show you the bias table and the higher the % you get in this table the more the refs have made bad calls against you. So being first in this table indicates that live has been difficult for you. Et voila….
|% wrong||Games||Wrong calls||Average/game||Opponents|
Poor WBA they have had the most calls going against them. But if you see at the teams in the last column you might consider that this could be the result of “big team bias”.
Well it will not be a big surprise to find Arsenal in second place in this table. And the strange thing is that we never had less than 50% of the wrong calls going against us. Not at home, not against the small teams…let alone against the other big teams.
Other teams suffering a bit from big team bias is Sunderland who in the games against Liverpool and Chelsea had more than 60% of the decisions going against them. Also Wigan had a bad score but this is only based on one game.
In an ideal world you should have a score of around 50%. City and Tottenham have this. Liverpool and Chelsea are not far away from the 50% mark.
There are other teams who well seem to be “lucky” with the wrong calls going against them. Stoke is such a team despite playing two big teams and so you should expect them to suffer more than to get more benefits from the refs. The interesting part will be to see how the game between Stoke and United goes this weekend. Just hope we can review this game.
Manchester United looks to be a very lucky team when it comes to mistakes of the refs. Are they the major benefits of the big team bias?
But there are two teams that are even more favoured by wrong calls than Manchester United. Blackburn and Newcastle are the luckiest teams so far in our reviewed games. Now how much would the fact that they played Arsenal in those games have to do with this good score?
Now the great thing about this table is that at the end of the season it should be a table with scores of only 50% by all the teams. Because well it should even out at the end of the season.. doesn’t it? Do I need to say that we will be keeping an eye on this?