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REFEREE LEAGUE TABLES 2012: The competence of the refs

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Ordinary is Pointless

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This article is part of the series : REFEREE REVIEW 2012

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By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

In the last weeks we have presented a report of each Premier League team and how the referees have treated them. We talked about the good decisions, and the wrong decisions and the bias we found in some team reports. But if you look at one report you probably don’t have a clue how this relates to the rest of the league.

If you know your team was hit hard on the goal decisions it is a good thing (or bad thing) to know. But were the other teams hit harder by that type of decision or not? And to fill up this gap we will now present you a few different league tables.

If you see your team in position 1 it means that in their games the correct decisions on that type of call was high. In general this is a good thing of course. Because as football supporters we want the refs to be correct.

Once again I would like to point that this is not a judgement on your favourite team in a way. It is a judgement of the refs and how they did in the games from your favourite team. If a team had lots of good decisions it still can be in a bad position when we look at the wrong calls. And also the other way round. A team that has a low score in correct decisions and thus having the refs making a mess of their games still could end up with a high bias in their favour when we look at those wrong decisions later on.

And in the next days, will also show the league table in which we show the position of the teams when it comes to bias.  And when you look at those tables you will see if it evens out for your team, your rivals, your second team, a team you like, a team you hate… In one blink of an eye you will be able to find out. That will be articles to link to I think.

But now let us start with the first tables:

The correct decisions tables in which we show the competence of the refs in the games of the different teams.

Correct decisions un-weighted +/- Average Nr Games
1 SWANSEA 81,730 9,240 8
2 ASTON VILLA 79,110 6,620 6
3 WBA 76,170 3,680 6
4 BLACKBURN 76,080 3,590 10
5 BOLTON 75,430 2,940 10
6 WIGAN 75,280 2,790 8
7 MAN C 74,750 2,260 32
8 LIVERPOOL 74,020 1,530 20
9 CHELSEA 73,320 0,830 32
10 TOTTENHAM 72,960 0,470 21
11 MAN U 72,800 0,310 32
12 EVERTON 72,460 -0,030 12
13 NEWCASTLE 72,290 -0,200 16
14 NORWICH 72,100 -0,390 11
15 SUNDERLAND 70,930 -1,560 14
16 ARSENAL 69,800 -2,690 38
17 QPR 68,550 -3,940 6
18 WOLVES 68,240 -4,250 8
19 FULHAM 65,450 -7,040 10
20 STOKE 64,480 -8,010 8

The first column is giving the “league position” of each team. Then you have the name. Then you have the percentage of correct decisions and in this table it is the un-weighted decisions. In the next column you see the difference with the total league average we found. and in the last column you see the number of games we reviewed of said teams.

And so you see that we had 11 teams in which the ref scored better than the league average, meaning they got more calls correct. 9 of them got a lower score from the refs. The league average on all decisions was 72.490% correct calls.

You can also see that the difference between Swansea who in their games had 9.24% more correct decisions than the league average and the number in Stoke games where the refs had 8,01% decisions less correct than the league average. This means that there has been a difference of some 17% in correct calls in games from Swansea compared to games with Stoke in it. This is absolutely shocking!

And as the PL always portrays itself as the best league in the world, I think the referees in that league should also be the best in the world. So the 70% correct decisions is simply not good enough for the best league in the world. I think the line should be drawn around the 80% mark in general.

As this is an Arsenal website I point at Arsenal in position 16. So there are teams who had worse refs in their games.

And now we will do the same with the weighted decisions.

Correct decisions weighted +/- Average Nr Games
1 SWANSEA 81,630 10,280 8
2 ASTON VILLA 79,810 8,460 6
3 WBA 75,910 4,560 6
4 BOLTON 75,180 3,830 10
5 WIGAN 75,100 3,750 8
6 BLACKBURN 74,670 3,320 10
7 MAN C 73,720 2,370 32
8 MAN U 72,580 1,230 32
9 NEWCASTLE 72,290 0,940 16
10 CHELSEA 71,700 0,350 32
11 TOTTENHAM 71,510 0,160 21
12 LIVERPOOL 71,500 0,150 20
13 EVERTON 71,350 0,000 12
14 NORWICH 71,250 -0,100 11
15 SUNDERLAND 69,980 -1,370 14
16 ARSENAL 68,640 -2,710 38
17 WOLVES 66,970 -4,380 8
18 QPR 66,300 -5,050 6
19 FULHAM 63,640 -7,710 10
20 STOKE 61,660 -9,690 8

And this will be no longer a surprise to see Swansea on top of the correct decisions table. The refs scored more than 10,28% better than the overall league average. And to see Stoke at the bottom will also be no real surprise. The refs scored 9.69% worse in their games.  That is a difference of almost 20% between the first and the last team in this table!

The league average was 71,350% correct decisions.

Again I point at the fact that Arsenal also finished 16 in this table. And I just link that position goes some way to show that we sure didn’t “create” these numbers just to show how hard Arsenal has been done by the refs. If we would have judged the refs differently from the other teams we would have finished in the last position in these two tables.

No, some teams had much worse refs in their games than Arsenal.

If you take a look at those two tables you can also have a bit of an indication on how refs are when it comes to making important decisions. Not against or in favour of one team but it gives maybe an indication on how cautious refs are for some teams.

And again I stress that this is not yet saying: the refs got it for this team. No, it is just to see if refs make a difference when working with some teams.

And a team that goes up in the league table when you compare the un-weighted decisions with the weighted is Manchester United. In the first table they are in position 11 and are the team with the smallest positive outcome on correct decisions. But if you put weight on it, they rise to 8th position. This just shows that refs were more cautious in the more important decisions in games from Manchester United. The same goes for Newcastle. They go from 13th place to 9th place.

Liverpool is a team that has the opposite image. They go from 8th position to 12th in this table.

In the next article we will show the league tables with the not that important decisions. We will show the league table of other decisions (fouls in the middle of the field), the offside decisions and the yellow card decisions.

Those are the decisions that have been weighted with 1 and 2 points in our weighted tables. In the article after that we will show the important decisions, the 3 pointers one could say like goals, penalties and red cards.

And then we will show which team had the biggest positive bias swing and who the biggest negative bias swing. All this in one blink of a eye.

Untold Arsenal will leave no stone unturned to show you how the state of referees was in the PL last season. And it sure doesn’t look great.

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Follow us on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Yesterday’s Event: Great Grandson of Arsenal star wins Olympic Gold

14 comments to REFEREE LEAGUE TABLES 2012: The competence of the refs

  • mark

    With so many refs scoring lower than 70% correct decisions it would seem very optimistic to think that most could score 80%.

    Only one team had that for the season average and that was with just 8 of the 38 games reviewed.

    So is it even possible for all the refs in all the games to average 80% correct decisions?

    I am not sure that it is possible. That is why I would want to see two refs on the field. Four eyes and two brains ought to get more decisions correct. Technology would help with getting the goals decision correct. And video replay would help with penalty decisions. But if none of these are adopted I don’t think 80% correct is possible. Maybe 75%?

  • zdzis

    I think two main refs is the basic starting point, along with goal-line tech. When you have one ref per side, there’ll be more correct penalty calls, too.

  • Charlie

    Need to see whether the bias in each case is for or against before really commenting. Do Stoke get penalised unfairly due to their reputation as a physical side or do they commit more fouls and get away with it ? One thing you can say is that referees are influencing the results dramatically and it is leading to unfairness in the league. We don’t know whether this is poor relative to other leagues or whether referees throughout the world have a bigger influence over results than we would like. It’ll be very interesting to see the positive and negative bias results.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Charlie,
    Stoke get the “benefit of the doubt”, unless they go to Old Trafford.

  • Jitty

    Hey – who are stoke sponsored by?

    And who is that goalkeeper they have who deliberately lets in goals?

    They are an interesting team with an interesting business model!

  • bob

    Dogface, Walter, Tony,
    Mates, please consider putting a link to the whole Series Index at the top and bottom of each new article (and yes, even go back and do this for all of them); as, now, it will help tie the whole thing back together at one click. Otherwise people have to learn (and may never realize) that they can find that link via the Home page (only). This little bit more of clean-up work really can make a big difference (especially for new visitors) in jumping from each new article back into the series as a totality, and make for greater coherence, etc. etc. (I’ve had industry experience in increasing customer satisfaction and making sites user friendlier and for what it’s worth recommend that this would add a lot.)

  • bob

    p.s. in support of adding the 2 links: “But if you look at one report you probably don’t have a clue how this relates to the rest of the league.” These links would help readers further make this relationship.

  • Stuart

    Walter / Dogface,

    This is getting more and more interesting by the day and this report leads me to ask, will you be compiling tables like the above but only taking into account 1 ref at a time?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Stuart,
    work is in progress behind the scenes 😉

  • finsbury

    Wouldn’t it be nice if as in the Olympics the likes of Stoke were booted out of the league for not trying (against certain opponents).
    We can but dream. Whilst appreciating the efforts of Walter & Dogface.

  • Gunz

    Walter/Dog face/Tony

    Any way you could show, if there’s any relation between Ref(s) performances and certain football team(s) league positions, through the 2011/2012 season? Does that make sense?

  • Mick

    Sorry if I am a bit thick but when a team eg ‘Swansea who in their games had 9.24% more correct decisions than the league average’ that is not saying that Swansea necessarily benefited from all those decisions is it? Just that there were more correct decisions all round?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mick,
    That is absolutely correct.

    I could have expressed it a bit clearer maybe in the article itself.

  • Goona Gal

    I read a shockingly decent article on refereeing from the most unlikely source and I could’nt think of a better place to post it. Hopefully work like this and criticism in the mainstream press will spotlight failings and will improve on last year.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/the-football-associations-weakness-over-the-issue-1260718