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The Untold Referee League Tables: where the bias really shows (and it didn’t “even out in the end”)

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Ordinary is Pointless

The Great History of Arsenal Competition – complete with prizes

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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 earlier resume and league tables we just gave the number of correct decisions without looking at who benefited from the decisions.

In this article we will highlight who has been benefiting most and who has suffered most from the referee mistakes.

In the league tables being in 1st place means that the refs gave you the favours. Being 20th means that the refs gave  most of the wrong decisions against said team.

But what is maybe even more important is that in these tables we can show you if and for whom it has evened out. Because if we get to a score of 0.000 this means that the decisions in the games we reviewed have evened out. Now that will be mighty interesting don’t you think? Well I do think it is. The best way to see this is in the total bias table.

So let us move on and look at the bias and how the teams had to cope with it.

Home bias Un-weighted

Home Bias Un-weighted +/- Average
1 QPR 12,999 11,173
2 MAN U 5,647 3,821
3 ASTON VILLA 5,500 3,674
4 STOKE 5,400 3,574
5 FULHAM 5,167 3,341
6 NEWCASTLE 4,500 2,674
7 TOTTENHAM 3,800 1,974
8 LIVERPOOL 3,546 1,720
9 SWANSEA 3,000 1,174
10 WIGAN 2,250 0,424
11 MAN C 2,187 0,361
12 WBA 2,000 0,174
13 WOLVES 2,000 0,174
14 BLACKBURN 2,000 0,174
15 CHELSEA 1,933 0,107
16 BOLTON 1,834 0,008
17 EVERTON 1,714 -0,112
18 NORWICH 1,000 -0,826
19 SUNDERLAND -1,832 -3,658
20 ARSENAL -8,264 -10,090

In this first table we see that QPR had the biggest home bias of all the teams.  They had the biggest difference from the “normal” home bias. An even bigger difference than Arsenal had on the other side of the table.

In second place we have Manchester United with their positive home bias at Old Trafford. And this might be a surprise but Aston Villa is the team in third place in this table. I must admit I didn’t see that coming.

18 teams had a positive home bias. The two exceptions are Sunderland and Arsenal. But if we look at the overall home bias we have found in all the games we can see that 4 teams didn’t get that positive bias. Those teams are Everton, Norwich, Sunderland and Arsenal.

Last seasons champions Manchester City are in the middle of the pack somewhere.

Let us move on to the away bias.

Away bias un-weighted

Away Bias Un-Weighted +/- Average
1 STOKE 6,333 8,159
2 QPR 1,800 3,626
3 NORWICH 1,600 3,426
4 FULHAM 1,250 3,076
5 BOLTON 1,160 1,000
6 MAN U 1,000 2,826
7 LIVERPOOL 0,777 2,603
8 SUNDERLAND -0,125 1,701
9 TOTTENHAM -0,636 1,190
10 BLACKBURN -0,666 1,160
11 CHELSEA -1,000 0,826
12 EVERTON -1,600 0,226
13 SWANSEA -1,750 0,076
14 WOLVES -1,750 0,076
15 NEWCASTLE -2,000 -0,174
16 WIGAN -2,500 -0,674
17 MAN C -2,750 -0,924
18 ASTON VILLA -3,500 -1,674
19 WBA -6,000 -4,174
20 ARSENAL -10,054 -8,228

In this table we see Stoke taking first place. This means that Stoke who came 4th in the home bias was the team that got most wrong calls going their way when away from home. Some people have said that the positive bias at home for Stoke was down to their audience. But that doesn’t explain these numbers.  QPR comes in second place in this table so they sure are getting some doubtful decisions going their way both at home and away.

In 3rd place we find Norwich in this table.

And talking about contrary numbers. Aston Villa who had the third highest home bias in their favour is now the third worst off from all the teams when going away. West Bromwich Albion is also very poorly treated away from home.  As is Arsenal.

In total we had 7 teams who received a positive bias away from home. So 13 teams got what is normal one could say.

But if we look at the league average bias score we see that 14 teams received a bias that even though it was maybe negative was till better than what can be expected.

Now let us see if the expression: “it will even out” can be applied to any team?  So start looking for a team with a 0.000 score behind their name…

Total bias un-weighted

TOTAL BIAS Un-Weighted Nr Games
1 QPR 6,000 6
2 STOKE 5,750 8
3 FULHAM 3,600 10
4 MAN U 3,469 32
5 LIVERPOOL 2,300 20
6 BOLTON 1,500 10
7 TOTTENHAM 1,477 21
8 NORWICH 1,273 11
9 NEWCASTLE 1,249 16
10 SWANSEA 0,625 8
11 BLACKBURN 0,400 10
12 CHELSEA 0,375 32
13 EVERTON 0,333 12
14 WOLVES 0,125 8
15 WIGAN -0,125 8
16 MAN C -0,282 32
17 ASTON VILLA -0,500 6
18 SUNDERLAND -0,858 14
19 WBA -3,332 6
20 ARSENAL -9,158 38

Well if you are here you will have found no 0.000 score. But what did we find?

Well we have found 14 teams with a positive bias in total.  And 6 teams with a negative bias overall.

QPR was the team that got the most benefit in the games we reviewed.  In second place we find Stoke. And Fulham came in third place in our numbers. So those are the top 3 when it comes to getting the benefit of the doubt from the refs when the refs make mistakes.

In 4th place we find Manchester United. They are the top team that gets most things going their way. Liverpool is coming close behind United.  Tottenham also didn’t do too bad with 7th place. Chelsea got a slight positive bias and ended up in 12th place.

Last years champions Manchester City are in the red zone and had a negative bias that made them end in place 16.

The 3 worst treated teams are Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal.

Let us now see what happens if we put the weight on the decisions.

 

Home Bias Weighted

Home bias Weighted +/- Average
1 QPR 18,667 16,048
2 STOKE 8,800 6,181
3 MAN U 7,647 5,028
4 ASTON VILLA 7,500 4,881
5 FULHAM 7,000 4,381
6 NEWCASTLE 6,000 3,381
7 TOTTENHAM 5,800 3,181
8 LIVERPOOL 4,909 2,290
9 WBA 4,000 1,381
10 WIGAN 4,000 1,381
11 BLACKBURN 4,000 1,381
12 BOLTON 3,666 1,047
13 MAN C 3,499 0,880
14 NORWICH 2,666 0,047
15 SWANSEA 2,500 -0,119
16 CHELSEA 2,401 -0,218
17 EVERTON 2,287 -0,332
18 WOLVES 2,250 -0,369
19 SUNDERLAND -1,000 -3,619
20 ARSENAL -12,632 -15,251

QPR remains the big benefactor of the wrong decisions. The score they got at home is blowing the roof of the building.  It really was an amazing discovery. As was Stoke who even manage to come in second place ahead of Manchester United when we put weight on the decisions.

This clearly shows that the bias Stoke received was one in the big decisions and not just in the smaller decisions. In 3rd place we find Manchester United.

We had 18 teams with a positive weighted home bias in the PL last season. But if we look at the average home bias we notice that only 14 of them did better than the league average.

The two teams with an overall negative home bias were Sunderland and Arsenal. And the teams with a negative bias score compared to the overall league average are Swansea, Chelsea, Everton, Wolverhampton, Sunderland and Arsenal.

Those 6 teams didn’t get what they are entitled to if we can believe the league average.

Let us go away from home.

Away bias Weighted

Away Bias Weighted +/- Average
1 STOKE 9,333 11,952
2 NORWICH 3,200 5,819
3 SUNDERLAND 1,750 4,369
4 QPR 1,600 4,219
5 FULHAM 1,500 4,119
6 MAN U 1,333 3,952
7 BOLTON 1,250 3,869
8 LIVERPOOL 0,889 3,508
9 TOTTENHAM -0,637 1,982
10 EVERTON -1,200 1,419
11 CHELSEA -1,588 1,031
12 BLACKBURN -1,834 0,785
13 NEWCASTLE -2,125 0,494
14 SWANSEA -2,500 0,119
15 WOLVES -2,500 0,119
16 WIGAN -4,250 -1,631
17 MAN C -4,687 -2,068
18 ASTON VILLA -5,250 -2,631
19 WBA -9,000 -6,381
20 ARSENAL -14,422 -11,803

And now we get once again a change in place.  This time Stoke takes first place. So once again the away bias in favour of Stoke was really astonishing!

In second place we now find Norwich and in third place we find …Sunderland. Sunderland who had the second lowest home bias (a negative remember) is having the third highest away bias in the league! Amazing twist that one.

QPR the champions of the home bias are only in 4th place away from home.

What also is a bit amazing is the fact that Manchester United drops in this table to 6th place. Don’t worry they still have a positive away bias. It’s not that the referees have deserted them completely. But the difference between home and away looks big. The influence of Old Trafford?

In this table 8 teams had a positive bias (and normally it would have been a negative one) and 12 teams had a negative bias against them. But if we look at the league average we see that 15 teams score better than the league average away from home.

The 5 teams who suffer most away from home are:  Wigan, Manchester City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal. West Bromwich Albion has also been very bad treated away from home it seems.

And once again let us now put those numbers together and try to see if there is one team in the PL that can say : “it evens out”. Without further hesitation let us take a look at this last table: the total weighted bias table.

Total bias Weighted

TOTAL BIAS Weighted Nr Games
1 STOKE 9,000 8
2 QPR 8,000 6
3 FULHAM 4,800 10
4 MAN U 4,687 32
5 LIVERPOOL 3,100 20
6 NORWICH 2,910 11
7 BOLTON 2,700 10
8 TOTTENHAM 2,429 21
9 NEWCASTLE 1,937 16
10 EVERTON 0,834 12
11 SUNDERLAND 0,570 14
12 BLACKBURN 0,500 10
13 CHELSEA 0,282 32
14 SWANSEA 0,000 8
15 WIGAN -0,125 8
16 WOLVES -0,125 8
17 MAN C -0,595 32
18 ASTON VILLA -0,999 6
19 WBA -4,667 6
20 ARSENAL -13,527 38

And goodness me… just look at position 14… Swansea. They have made it! They have done it!

Ladies and gentleman, Swansea is the only team in the PL that could say: what is the fuss all about? It evens out at the end.  In a way this is an utterly amazing result of course.  And one that shows that it can be done. Should we all rise up and give a standing ovation to the PGMOL for this result? Well before we do that let us just think about those other 19 teams that don’t have the chance to say: it evens out. So just stay in your seat.

The team that has got the most decisions their way in the PL this season is Stoke. Stoke can carry the title of “most favoured team by the refs in 2011-2012”. After a very long neck on neck race they have beaten QPR with one point difference.

In third place came Fulham who just took this place from Manchester United.

Much to my and maybe to many surprise those 3 teams got the most beneficial decisions from the refs.

But Manchester United is the first top club in this table. Just beating Liverpool who came in 5th place.  The next in the list of the teams that were in contention for a CL place is Tottenham Hotspur in 8th place.  Just in front of Newcastle that came 9th.

Chelsea the next top team on the list only came in 13th place.

And the league winners of last season Manchester City only comes in 17th place.

And the team that made the big turnaround of the season. Going from place 17 after 3 games to place 3 after 38 games…had not only to fight their opponents but had to overcome a very clear bias from the referees.

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This is the last article in which we showed you an overview of all the league tables about the decisions from the refs.

But don’t worry we have more to come in our review. We now will take on each ref in our series. And at the end of this you will be able to see who was the best ref in the season 2011-2012.

Editorial Footnote: Occasionally readers wish to make the point that our figures or methods are themselves fixed or biased.  If you have such a view and wish to argue that point please do take a look at our article on data and conclusions first.

If you want to read some other articles about the refs in the last season, you can take a look over here

 

62 comments to The Untold Referee League Tables: where the bias really shows (and it didn’t “even out in the end”)

  • Gunner4evr

    That is why based on the home and away stats,Arsenal have a mt to climb to win games. Its the ref behind all this. Until the FA take severe action against erring refs after an Arsenal game,the gunners will never win the epl.

  • Gunner4evr

    That is why based on the home and away stats,Arsenal have a mt to climb to win games. Its the ref behind all this. Until the FA take severe action against erring refs after an Arsenal game,the gunners will never win the epl.

  • Joe

    Wow, some one should send this to that ginger git on “talkshite” and see how he spins that on his “arsenal time”.

  • JSP2303

    What the hell is this all about??? Does anyone know???? Better still, does anyone care!!!!

  • rantetta

    Walter, Dogface and Tony

    Thank you for this incredible series of reports. There’s clearly so much hard work involved here and I’m hopeful that many people with influence will see and act – positively – upon the findings.

    I’m amazed at the quality and quantity of Untold’s articles during this summer. UA has really become an iconic site – reflected in ways beyond its high readership.

    Onwards and upwards.

  • bob

    rantetta,
    Do you realize (I wrote you a few articles ago) that Walter will soon be reviewing THAT game! Cheers 🙂

  • Wow, interesting stats, it is a shame to see that some bias is still taking place. 🙁

    Sophie

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rantetta,

    I somehow feel bad when people just praise Tony, Dogface and me for this. I must insist that we also praise the referee reviewers. They have done the hard part of the job late at night with their wife asking: “when will you come to bed?” 😉 OK my imagination is running away a bit. 😉

    But seriously: it is their hard work that has made this possible.

  • bob

    JSP2303,
    C’mon now, go gently back to the telly and watch your meddies. Don’t worry a bit, MOTD will soon be on. Shhhh, just sit still. MOTD will soon be on, MOTD, MOTD, MOTD…..Time for your nap. Atsa good boy.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bob,
    well to tell you a little secret: that game is finished. And ready to be published.
    It was one hell of a game I can tell you.

  • Gunner4evr

    If refs dont award a 100% penalty,what can the agrieved club do?Nothing it seems.I don’t know. But why can’t the ref chief take immediate action such refs.

  • bob

    Gunner4ever,
    Yes, why doesn’t the ref chief EVER take even delayed action?

  • Claver

    Well done.

    An admirable job. I hope u get sponsorship to pursue your analysis as the season progresses. Perhaps you should state yourselves an independent ‘ombudsman’. Perhaps Usmanov can support your efforts as the Board at Arsenal seem unlikely to be involved in anything that moves the club beyond mediocre. Though I still pray and hope.

  • Claver

    You do realise that if Arsenal sell RvP to MaNU it will only serve to give a semblance of credibility to their ‘favourable’ position?

  • Che

    Great stats and work on this article. Although there were quite a few players who got to wear the glorious red and white last year who were far from being good enough to play for the Arsenal (and that is an understatement in the cases of Squillaci and Djourou), you do see it when we’re playing that we definitely get more decisions go against us than for us. Great to see some stats that back that up. I think we will see less players playing for the gooners this season who are not good enough for the club!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Claver,
    I like your idea… why don’t Usmanov spend some fekking money 😉 🙂

  • luc

    the thing is you tell people this stuff and they think your crazy even tho its so blatantly obvious if your a conscious being… the fact tht the majority of fans do not understand football and tht it is a franchise… i mean i hav trouble trying to explain to fans tht wengers a very good manager and tht the tv is out to assassinate our club, they don’t get it they cnt understand why we don’t do what the other top clubs do in the transfer market thn i talk money and they say lets not talk figures thts not football, i just kp my thoughts to myself hoping some sort of financial fair play rule will kick in and we manage to hold on to what players we have sign our new sponsored deal then we should b there financially to compete or at least the gap would of closed enough so we can there not in a weak position and our stars want to leave for bigger wages seriously… in simple terms its short term pain ie 7yrs trophy-less for long term gain an we owe tht to wenger

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Walter,
    Why don’t the Glazers spend some money? Not that it’s AW’s style but he could do a press conference where he names the price and Ferguson can have RvP. The fall out would be spectacular. If they signed him and the price AW quoted was deemed excessive (because he’s Van Ziekenbriefje) they’ll call for Ferguson’s head. If they don’t sign him the Green and Gold brigade will march on OT demanding the Glazers’ heads on pikes because they could have bought a world class talent for £25/£30 million…

    Apologies for my poor Dutch idioms.

  • Theo Van Nasrigone

    Fantastic accumulation of data there. Any chance of the database being open source?

    My statistics are a bit rusty, but given the misfortune that some teams have such a small sample (Villa, WBA, QPR especially), wouldn’t it be pertinent to declare the degree of confidence you can assign each club its bias score? I hate to nit-pick but I think adding in error bars would give more credence to your hard work. It would be a good retort to anyone dismissing your work out of hand for small sample spaces with some teams.

  • Ishan

    How did you calculate the +/- average ?

  • Jimin

    now lets look at the magnitude of this bias and for how long it has been with the arsenal. cant we see the link with this and the trophy-less season? now is it not the reason why cesc, clichy and nasri left us last season. how many times have nasri and clichy been referred to as french with a bias intention at manc? none. evra is french at manu with an advantage of been an international, at arsenal its a crime to be french, why? vp refuse dodd hand in one of our matches, cesc asked a ref how much he was paid to nail arsenal. why is no one making a fuse out of all this or it is a common knowledge that arsenal have no body to protect them. my take is; this are the areas vp asked for the way forward. without this addressed even if we buy like manc, we’ll still rely on luck like they did to win. i feel if there was fair play manc would had won the league with 5 matches left. the ref made sure they kept manu in the challenge but bottle up finally becos their game plan was too obvious and manc too good. i believe in arsenal but to win the league again, the ref must help us or not help any body at all.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ishan,
    We calculated the +/- compared to “normal average bias” in the whole league we found at home and away.

    The total are bringing the home and away bias together and see at the final outcome of those two numbers

  • Ishan

    And what is it i.e the +/- average ?

  • GoonerPete

    This is amazing stuff
    The only minor problem I can forsee is the number of games reviewed – surely to get a completely accurate number then all 38 games of all 20 teams need to be reviewed?

    I appreciate this would probably be impossible, but surely I’m right that all need to be done to reflect accurate numbers?

    All that said, I think you may nearly be at the point where you can send all your analysis to every newspaper / broadcaster in the country.

    Getting it in the main stream press is the only way to make the PGMOL take note and perhaps change their ways.

  • bob

    Walter, Dogface,
    Kudos for your brilliance.
    Based on what’s appeared to date, I would further like to see a separate piece – with specific examples and a link to it – that explains to anyone the components of what goes into Weighting. This would help to further clarify the process and get more readers to more thoroughly grasp the analysis.

    In addition, because of the disparity in the number of games that could be reviewed for each side, I would like to see forthcoming tables and analysis that focus on the teams with at least a dozen matches reviewed. Maybe with at least 20. Clearly (yes?), those results are more commensurate; and their statistics will have a stronger foundation and be still more persuasive, imo.

    I do understand and marvel at the limits you were laboring under; but the impact of such limits must also be further considered/spelled out when you/anyone reaches a necessarily interpretive conclusion. (And I’m not saying that anything goes; no, you have brilliant narrowed the field on what can justly be concluded/interpreted.) To wit, Stoke (whose brand of football is a disgrace, imo) may be the most favored in bias, but that’s based on only 6 games – as you know. Arsenal is most biased against, but that’s based on a full 38 games – as you know. Under-reviewed sides like Stoke and QPR ranking so high (or low), don’t give us a large enough, representative sample size – as you know. My point, then, is that a strong, unavoidable interpretive dimension must be brought to bear on at least some of what you suggest your findings (to this point) are showing.

    For example, a qualitative assessment might tell us a good deal more about what you find to be Stoke’s disproportionately-high biases actually meant in the EPL last season. Were Stoke used, say, as a battering ram against certain opponents as opposed to other opponents, and on behalf of some opponents higher in the table and to the detriment of their opponents? My prejudice would say yes, of course, Pulis is Fergie’s man. And perhaps this, or indicators of this, could be found in the few matches that were reviewed. But again, this would take interpretation. It is not in the numbers themselves. The numbers alone do not speak for themselves. They beg interpretation.

    Another case. Bias against Arsenal or for Manure is shown, and makes a certain clear(er) sense, because their samples are clearly of similar size. But even so, further interpretation is begged if a stronger comparative case is to be made to assert Manure’s unfair advantage in league play. This, of course, is the commonsense and widespread public opinion (outside Mancunia).

    Anyway, this is my major concern: that we acknowledge the need for an interpretive and qualitative dimension of analysis to give this study its fullest clout. I totally admire what you’ve done, and even more so under the circumstances. To be honest, I admire what you did two seasons ago, Walter, just as much, if not more, and, as a one-man exercise, it took on a more qualitative/interpretive cast. Which, to me, was principled and insightful and fit what I saw happening on the pitch, for whatever that’s worth. In any case, I find that quantitative analysis and qualitative interpretation of any results are inseparable; and neither one nor the other is sufficient to make the best possible case for any assertion to win the day.

    So please consider my considerations. I’m happy to learn from any correction and critique. And I want this effort to make as many quantitatively-supported interpretive conclusions as possible in order to strike the truly necessary blow for fair play.

  • bob

    p.s. Besides the Riley-ite “it all evens out” mantra, which you have thoroughly demolished, I can see your numbers brought to bear in case studies of other key matters of the day. For one, since this, again, is Don Fergus’ next (last) run at the Rednose XX, what does last season’s performance suggest about how certain referees might aid and abet his Final Victory? What role, if any, might Fergie’s acolytes, like Pulis, play on the road to the Rednose XX? What calls/non-calls might suggest, spotted early on, the continuance of last season’s pattern of allow Arsenal no penalty shots at home? I’m sure other questions and case studies can be posed and examined because of the work to date. Perhaps readers/commentators can be welcomed to pose their further questions and case studies and your database could be enlisted on behalf of raising better questions and providing better interpretations. Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m so thankful for your work and that of the ref reviewers on behalf of the truly greater good.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Common practice would be to substitute values in for the games you didn’t review and see how much this adjusts the bias. My brief look at this would be that if you were to assume that the referee had a perfect game in the games not reviewed, it would not significantly affect the competency of referees on a club by club basis. Likewise, if you zero out the bias for/against in those matches missed, it doesn’t significantly affect the overall totals. At least not for those clubs where the reviews were over 60% of those played.

  • rantetta

    Please pardon me for not mentioning the other ref reviewers. I’ve been short of time during this summer, I’ve read all the articles (starting at Walter’s Dream, and followed by the shock RvP stuff the next day), but I haven’t posted any comments. I’ve also read some but not all of the replies, and therefore I’ve missed your post, Bob.

    I’ll get back on track soon but in the meantime I’d like to reiterate my gratefulness for the excellent work produced here by Untold Arsenal, including ALL of the ref reviwers. Thank you.

  • Horacio

    Again a good peace and for all those expecting media change and for the guy (sorry i can’t remember the posters name) who asked why is the PGMOL not taking notice is that not obvious.

    Until Arsenal join the corrupt game (one which i feel we played a little better when we had dean at the club) then we will continue to rely on having to be 10x better then any other team to win a premier league.

    Take away the bias and arsenal would of had at least 3 prem titles in this last 7 years along with a FA cup or Two but then it would prove that money is not the only way to titles and we can’t have that can we.

    Rant over lol back to work in sunny spain

  • bob

    Jimin,
    Really liking your fresh perspectives.
    Perhaps Gazidis going on to the FA board is a move toward influencing the refs toward us, or neutralizing the bias against us. As for preventing the refs from helping anyone at all, spreading the UA/Walter-Dogface analysis far and wide would help that cause and be fair to all fans of all teams.

  • bob

    rantetta, Walter,
    Like the three witches in Macbeth,
    THAT review will be our brew, we three witches! 🙂

  • bob

    Hola Horacio,
    Seriously, what’s it like to be our man in sunny Espana?!
    (Please send x-Cesc a crown of thorns. The same
    for Iniesta and Busquets – hands off Song!)
    Cheers, keep us in the loop!

  • Wooby

    Bob,
    I am encouraged by Gazidis being named to two posts within the FA, particularly to the Professional Game Board (PGM). It would appear the other rep’s from the BPL on the PGM are the PL Chairman, ManUre CEO and Spuds Director of Football Admin (http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/08/05/3288626/arsenals-gazidis-in-double-fa-appointment?source=breakingnews) … this figures to at least put us on equal footing with ManUre in terms of having a voice on “FA related issues”.

    It is also interesting his other new role will deal with player development. It appears this would be an acknowledgement that Arsenal knows something about the development of young players (rather obvious to us supporters).

    What this would seem to further suggest is that in spite of various reports in near past about “Wenger losing the plot” and “Arsenal going nowhere/wrong way” … we are actually being recognized and consulted on the way we run our club.

    Finally, a big shout out to Walter, Tony, Dogface and all the ref reviewers. Many thanks for the great work you have done to show the bias our lads have had to fight against.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seems like it is all stiched up by Fergie, some of his ex players, and teams who play what some call the English way. Fortunately, we do not fit any of these categories, and it shows in these figures. QPR – is it their manager, style of play , or the owner sponsoring the PGMOL?
    Prediction – Watch Santi Cazorla get sent off for a minor response to extreme provocation before the end of Aug

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Mandy,

    I’d say almost the same thing but about Podolski instead and not so much of the minor. He’s certainly got the temper for it. You wouldn’t want to get in the way of one of his left footed thunderbolts if he takes a disliking to you.

    Actually that could be our new tactic for breaking down a packed defence, smack the ball into your opponents groin from close range, Walter, care to comment on the legality of shooting at goal through a player?

  • bob

    Mandy,
    This is what they did to Gervinho at the very outset, as I’d bet you have that in mind. Perhaps Gervinho, Diaby, Sagna and a few other “foreigners” will give Podolski, Cazolra and Giroud a MASTER CLASS in the Diabolique that the Riley-ites are themselves masters of. It would be great to go into this season will a full, not naive understanding of what it will mean to wear our badge, and how our unity and steely perseverance against the 12 man opposition will see us through.

  • nekuhan

    Walter,
    I am a stunned admirer of the work you, Tony, Dogface and your anonymous referee reviewers (credit to them!) produce as the evidence on the Referees, FA, PL and PGMOL biased acting. Fantastic work. Let it know widely.
    Some thoughts:
    1. Why FA and PL need PGMOL at all if not to rig the matches and the winner, CL places? Is it correct that they moved to Manchester to be closer to Don Ferguson? Fight PGMOL!
    2. PGMOL is in a clear conflict of interest situation because their sponsor is ‘Tune Group’. Just look at your last table and consider the position of QPR. Curious, isn’t it? Fight PGMOL’s conflict of interest!
    3. Nearly all teams in your last table, with negative bias, have/had managers (Martinez, McCarthy, Mancini, Hodgson, Wenger) who have strong personalities, are independent, their teams play nice/fine looking football, sometimes challenge for the top (Mancini, Wenger) but all have in common one characteristic … they are not on the Red Nose Don Ferguson’s pay-list of ass lickers!! Strange what you can dig out from the valuable data. Fight Red Nose! Fight injustice!
    Keep it up and roll strongly in the future.

  • bob

    Mandy, Woolwich,
    Surely Arsene will teach the facts of life to the new lads, and how essential it is to keep our tempers – how the natural tendency to strike back when aggrieved needs to be kept in check for the good of the side. That said, it is great that Arsene has so much apparent squad depth at his disposal, if only for substitutions that will help neutralize the expectable rash of SECOND YELLOW CARDS that will be visited on our “hotheads” who tip-toe over the line when they retaliate against the UNSEEN (uncarded) fouls to come. Perhaps Gazidis will find his way of bringing this to bear on high? Or will he go along to get along? Vigilance and unity, mes amis.

  • bob

    nekuhan,
    I agree on so much of your email that it’s almost embarrassing to point out this disagreement with your second point: the fact is that only 6 (of 38) QPR games were reviewed here (because of several limitations to the resources of this study, which have been clearly spelled out). You may well be right about the impact of that apparent conflict of interest. But, until there’s more data – both quantitative and a qualitative analysis of what went on and when in more of its matches – it will not be possible to simply assert (as if it were fact) that QPR so benefited from refshite because of its chairman’s sponsorship of PGMOL.

    Yes it would seem logical and exactly how the bent world of football really works; but this is not established by only 6 games. Also, many QPR fans wrote in to make this very objection; and were felt hard done by the refs in several of their games. I’m all for exposing any/every conflict of interest – and PGMOL should NEVER be sponsored by any team or its sponsor; and there should be an absolutely iron-clad rule against it. In fact, such is the nature of Riley’s Hive and the FA and its contempt for fair play that this arrangement would be allowed in the first place. It is immoral; even if it is legal. But we cannot PROVE, on the evidence of only 6 games, however distasteful it may be, that QPR has got the breaks it needed because of this sponsorship arrangement.

    I think we (and I caution myself) need to be on solid ground with our assertions, especially to defend the many brilliant assertions that have been made and will continue to be made based on the hard-won evidence that we/UA now have. Let’s just be as careful and accurate as we are righteous.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    As one of the early discoverer and lover of UA, I saw this review develop on this blog in 2010/11 and congratulate all involve on how far you have run with it in just 2 seasons…

    I trust you will not relent and, somehow, you will get to expand it to cover all games if not this season, then in the next one.

    I also must praise the quality of analyses. Either they are so very good or the technical critiques of old have finally folded tent and stopped talking to us. I remember one fellow in particular, whose input I have not seen throughout this presentation of results. In any case, having set the parameters for the analyses, it will be a small thing for the technical experts to tighten it without making us to become a doctoral student to get the gist of the consclusions being reachd.

    Next steps:
    If the quality of referring is a concern to fans and fans can show that it is a legitimate concern then, respective EPL clubs must sooner or later buy-in and take it farther than where the fans, individually or collectively can take it.

    Somehow, these matters should be brought to PGMOL’s attention. Especially by EPL club management either individually or collectively. PGMOL should not be allowed to fob off this evidence however pedestrial they may think it is without taking the effort to show equivalent quality of review as their basis. I see no reason why Arsenal should not be called upon to table this complaint formally. Their fans took the effort they suffer the most from bad referreeing. To this end, I urge that Lord Tony explore every avenue to present the result formally to Arsenal and to lobby them to formulate and loage a formal complaint around it.

    EPL clubs should seek out ways to set up the same type independent review as UA has done – in ooperation with PGMOL.

    EPL is a serious mulitbillion pound and international business. It is high time PGMOL is put under the neceassry pressure to match and sustain the professionalism that their service to the business requires…and be seen to be doing so. Our blind trust that they are doing so will no longer do. As far as can be seen, PGMOL is currently parochial, provincial or favours a certain type of footballing style that FIFA no longer condones or, God help us, it show a deep seated and deliberate bias against some teams! Yjis has to change!!

  • bob

    Does anyone know when the FA’s contract (or is it FIFA’s) with PGMOL expires? Or is it eternal?

  • Matt Clarke

    I wish to add my continuing praise to Walter, the team of Reviewers, and DogFace for this work.

    Others have pointed to the dubious merit of analysis on the basis of the (undoubtedly necessarily) limited number of games reviewed. Well, that’s fair comment.

    So, let’s exclude all results other than the top three most-reviewed – The Arsenal, ManCity and ManU.

    What does that leave?
    It still leaves a stark contrast between AFC and ManU
    A shocking result – one that ALL football fans should be worried about.

    Good work guys.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hope you are right bob, these new players do need to be on their guard. Woolwich, Love the image of Podolski unleashing a thunderbolt at …say Barton, terry or ade!

    As for the PGMOL, as long as their is greed, corruption, cheating, favouritism, illegal gambling, human weakness, they will be there in some form…..so I guess they are in for the long haul. When fergie leaves, they will no doubt find someone else to suck up to…..by the looks of this, Hughes or Pulis!

  • bjtgooner

    Walter & Dogface

    What a superb piece of work, a super series with excellent analysis.

    In reviewing the favourable showing by Stoke I initially wondered if the refs were intimidated by the Stoke rugby players, or by the fact that Pulis is a pal of Red Nose, but there is an additional factor – the owner, Peter Coates is very wealthy in his own right & is former owner and present chairman of Bet365. Money talks…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Coates

  • I have done it before but I feel it needs saying again. I am deeply honoured that the little blog I set up just a few years ago should be graced by being the publisher of this staggering research.

    Walter, Dogface and ref reviewers, I am sure you know how much I feel indebted to you.

    Really, I raise a glass to you, collective sirs.

  • paul

    Appreciate all the work and effort you folks put into this. Fascinating and frightening.
    Do you have any idea when this shift began? When decisions appeared to shift against Arsenal?
    Other than the obvious motivation of jealousy, is there any other reason for this?
    And out of curiosity has this been going on as long as the Prem. has been around, or is it more recent?
    Thanks.

  • RobL

    …and will it change now Gazidis is part of the establishment, as maybe it was when Dein was part of the FA?

  • Mick

    @Paul
    I believe that the bias against our club really gathered pace when our esteemed manager Arsene joined the club. The fact is that our press and media are xenophobic and racist to an unacceptable level, so when we installed a French man as manager who in turn filled most of his teams with ‘foreigners’ lots of whom were black to boot it was simply too much for our media and existing football hierarchy to tolerate. The ensuing anti Arsenal bias was maybe not so apparent and was to a degree masked and ignored by us fans because, due to our superb teams at the time, we were winning trophies. I remember all the red cards we used to get most of which were for retaliation due to lack of protection from the refs, you recall the rotational fouling by Man U for example. But we still won trophies so we didn’t complain and highlight the rotten treatment we got. That’s my theory for what it is worth. Incidentally I would love to see stats comparing fouls and cards given out to different ethnic groups from different countries etc, now that would be revealing!

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    JSP2303…..does that acronymn stand for Just Shit Poster and your weight in excrement or Juvenile Stupid Pretender with your IQ being 23 and your shoe size 3?

    In answer to your inane questions:

    What the hell is this all about? … Its called game analysis for officiating and is meant for intelligent people so definitely NOT for you!

    Does anyone know?…We do but you’ll need to have a brain transplant (removing your Spuds walnut) to be able to join our circle so back to shagging mom in the closet mate!

    Better still, does anyone care!….Thousands of true Gooners and even fans from other teams DO but again, that escapes your feeble-minded concepts of Football….try FIFA football Manager….it is all explained there!

  • Doanythingformoney

    Having discussed this with someone above the rank of ‘Chief Sports Journo’–on a daily paper– I can tell you that almost everyone in the industry,(this includes radio and TV) is aware of the ‘imbalance’ of PL results and the problems that are caused for ALL the big clubs—bar one! Lets call them Hedge Fund FC

    Look, it really is simple. If you want to promote HFFC particularly, you cannot just favour them big style every week. That would be too obvious! But if you can favour them more subtly and at the same time demote all the main competitors– what you get is the result so wonderfully outlined by our A-Team. Yes, other teams do stick out like sore thumbs on the benefit front but these teams also have their ‘connections’ and that could easily explain why they, and not other clubs, ‘get the benefit’ as it were.

    Disgusting as all this is- no press or media outlet dare approach this issue for fear of retribution on an industrial and personal level. The teams have to play their game and so do the press and media. The bottom line seems to be-‘ if we refuse to play ball- we get sacked and a new team will be wheeled in who will do as they are told. This emasculation of the press is happening in many areas and levels– not just sport.

    Three further points. Yes,THEY concede it is a form of censorship, yes it is happening in other countries and yes, THEY do want us to go on highlighting the absurd injustice of it because no-one else can do it!

  • Stuart

    re Domhuaille @ 10.57pm

    Thanks for that, I nearly fell off my chair 😉

  • nekuhan

    Bob @ 5:51 pm.
    Nothing to argue about, just to quote Matt Clarke @ 6:51 pm “… the dubious merit of analysis on the basis of the (undoubtedly necessarily) limited number of games reviewed. Well, that’s fair comment.”.
    As we are not (yet) in the Court of Justice, we really do not need to prove anything but the presumptions are rather heavy in the sense explained. My point is identical to yours i.e. the conflict of interest should not be allowed. In other businesses it is clearly forbidden and is criminal offense. Not with FIFA, UEFA, FA, PL, PGMOL, etc, too much money involved! The conflict of interest leaves all doors open to all kind of suspicions. End of my point.
    And as Gooners, let continue to be careful, accurate and righteous, just as you wrote it nicely.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Doanythingforthemoney,

    So sad and so true…

    But we will continue and try even harder next season.

  • paul

    @Mick
    Good points, thanks. Yes, I remember the accumulation of red cards and the reputation we developed. I also recall the provocation and rotational fouling coupled with fouls early in the game on skill players “to let them know the defenders were there”. The systematic destroying of Reyes still hurts. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that Cazoria gets better protectionfrom the refs, particularly with Stoke coming so early in the schedule.

  • bob

    Doanythingformoney,
    Is there some way you can provide some bit of anything that might/would help verify – for the skeptical or dismissive – your most important comment? Perhaps someone who was fired? Or some happenstance? A link to an article? Whatever.

  • Doanythingformoney

    @bob
    Sorry, far too dangerous. We are not dealing with an Arsenal problem here. This is a GLOBAL problem of control. Football is a tool to be used in that process. PGMOL is a pimple on it’s arse -as it were!
    Our job is to bash on helping Arsenal receive parity- as Walter said. But research and knowledge about the attempts of the Cabal to control everything on the planet will end interference in football, and everything else, quicker than anything. Do your research into that and encourage everyone to do the same.

  • bob

    Doanythingformoney,
    ta, mate 🙂

  • Oguntuase Amos

    I am not surprised that Arsenal is the least favoured club by referees, the league body and the FA because the club is demystifying all they stand for, money, money and money. The way The final Man city match ended few minutes after Man U match still amazes me knowing fully well that it is the cup decider. It appears that the one that paid their way better carried the day. There is the need to beam the search light on the EPL as match fixing and financial inducement cannot be ruled out completely. Ride on Arsenal, the club that believes in doing things the right way, very soon you shall be vindicated.

  • Jimbo

    If you analysed every single game shouldn’t you find that exactly half the clubs have a bias one way or the other…I mean they have to play each other, right? I mean you can’t have a team being positively biased at home and away without then another team being negatively biased at home and away, because it doesn’t add up over the whole season because the teams all have to play each other, afterall, and a positive bias for one team equates to a negative in the team they’re playing. That’s why I’m dubious about the stats – I’m afraid you have to analyse them all, or if you want to cut your work load then at least pick a subset of perhaps 10 clubs and then just look at the games where those ten clubs play each other at home and away. I’m not good at wording my point so I hope you get what I mean…?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jimbo,
    if we would have done all the matches we could have seen the complete picture. Now there is a gap to fill. You are right about that.
    A gap we will try to fill next season, I hope

  • iniez

    Walter,
    As an aside, would you consider taking to twitter to gather more support for the ref reviews, maybe enlist the power of the retweet from other popular arsenal blogs to help spread the word. As well as the untold page, I also follow a few other popular blogs like arseblog, aculturedleftfoot, goonerholic. They have a lot of followers, and said followers form a huge network. If you were to tweet a call to refs (with the other blogs retweeting your message) then I’m sure thousands upon thousands will see it. Just a humble suggestion

  • RayTay

    How about comparing these results with a bell curve. Even if there was no bias, you would not have twenty teams with a net 0 bias.