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By Walter Broeckx
As making mistakes is human we should accept mistakes by the ref. And last time I checked I think I was human and I am very willingly to accept that I do make mistakes. In fact a ref that has made no mistakes in a game still has to be born I think.
So in a way we should try to accept that refs make mistakes. But of course the fewer mistakes you make as a ref the better ref you are.
Now I have tried to figure out for each ref how many mistakes he makes in a game on average and I have talked about how I got to this number which is different for each ref.
I have also explained that a fair ref should make mistakes in the same way for both teams. But I felt that we just could not stop by saying that if a ref makes 16 mistakes in a game that would mean that each team should accept that 8 wrong calls are made against them.
To give some more perspective I thought we should accept a little margin in which a ref could operate. A small remark: I am talking about a ref that is not trying to tilt the game in one or the other direction. A bit naïve maybe but well….
But I was thinking that the home/away influence could play a part and so we had to give a bit of room to the ref. As the home/away influence is generally accepted to be in the range of 60/40 I didn’t want to look too small-minded and I thought that we should give the ref a 25% margin. And within this margin I would say that it would still be acceptable for having more or less mistakes to one team or the other.
But when a ref crosses the line of getting higher than 50% of the average wrong calls, then at that moment in time red bells should be starting to flash, warning signs should become visible. Because at that moment things are getting out of control I think. It is fair to give the ref a bit of room but moving more than 50% away from the average is not acceptable.
Lots of words and theory therefore, but how does this look in practice. Well let us take ref Walton to start with. He has an average numbers of 16 mistakes in his games. Rather high I think. So the even out theory should give us 8 mistakes against each team in each game on average. For Ref Walton I gave him a margin of 25% and this means that if he stays between 6 and 9 mistakes for or against a team I still would accept it and say it could be just human nature. But when he crosses the 50% barrier we move in to the land of the suspicious ref reviewer. For Walton this means that he is getting suspicious when he makes less than 4 mistakes or more than 11 mistakes.
And then I have put this in to a nice table and I will try to explain it. But before that I must admit that I am not a wizard with computers and graphics and all such things. I can work a bit with it but must admit that I am not completely satisfied with the final result but this was the best I could come up with. People who can give me suggestions please do. But here is the graphical presentation of when Ref Walton looks suspicious or not.
First remark: I would have hoped that I could have changed the background a bit so you would see a green background between the numbers 6 and 9. And a red background between 4 and 11 and between those, yes an orange background as a warning indication. Alas, I’m not that kind of a genius yet. So the blue line is the line that we take as acceptable. Anything in between those lines is just well the ref being human one could say. The zone between the end of the blue line and the purple line is the zone where we enter the stage of things getting a bit abnormal. And once we have crossed the purple line… that team is in trouble or is having a great day out.
But more importantly let us go on to the numbers. And in this we can see that ref Walton had 2 games that look suspicious. First of all the Newcastle-Arsenal game. In this game he went over and under the alarm zone. Making more than the double of wrong calls against Arsenal and going under the alarm border for making very few wrong calls against Newcastle.
The other game that looks strange is the game between Chelsea and Bolton. Not that Bolton crossed the alarm line (they stayed between the acceptable and alarm line) but the fact that Chelsea was well treated with only 2 wrong calls makes this a bit strange.
The third game where you could say something was wrong is the game Stoke-Manchester United. In this game Manchester United got just up to the alarm line but didn’t cross it at the end. But still came close to what is acceptable.
But this graphic could show from which point something looks suspicious in some games.
Let me give another example of …let us see… Howard Webb. First the numbers.
Webb makes an average of 14 mistakes a game. Meaning 7 mistakes per team. Border of acceptable mistakes (25%) is between 5 and 9 mistakes. Alarm bell border is under 3 and over 10 mistakes.
So we see that Webb touched the alarm border line a few times but did not cross it really. The only time he did cross the alarm line was in the game Arsenal-Sunderland where he doubled his alarm line number by making 21 mistakes against Arsenal and also crossed the under alarm border line with only making two mistakes against Sunderland. The other game in which he crossed the alarm border line was… Arsenal-Everton where he made 50% more mistakes against Arsenal compared to the alarm border line.
So now we can take a look at all the refs in this way and show this to you reader.
Now if only I could get some colours in to this….
Referees and Corruption