England players get privilege’s from refs that foreign players don’t get. That is the essence of Sergio Agüero’s case of the bias when playing in England.
I am not at all sure this has been analysed by our referees working on Referee Decisions – and previously here – but it adds another dimension to the Problem with Referees (PWR) that we now have.
Most of the problems could be resolved very easily, and this one is no exception. There is no reason why we should only have English refs in the English league. We are short of referees anyway, and exposure to some foreign referees would surely help the top clubs prepare for Europe.
So why don’t we? I don’t know – as PGMOL.
The incidents that got everyone exercised over the issue involved Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta going down in the penalty area. Now we know from the detailed review of referees last season (link below) in which we analysed over 40% of the games that referees are awful when it comes to penalties. At best getting a penalty or not is a lottery.
But that figure came from an analysis of whether the penalty is right or wrong – not who the foul was committed by and against. Given the paucity of penalties that Arsenal get it is an issue of some concern at the Ems.
To be fair Agüero also said, “It happens everywhere. There is a little bit of privilege with players who come from that country. That is normal. We just play our game, and the referee’s job is to know who is tricking him and who is not.”
The Guardian newspaper suggested that the problem was that “referees are innately suspicious of foreign players”. “Innate” is a difficult word in this context. Being innately against a player from another country is not racist. Being against a black player is. There is a real difference, but it is still discrimination and should be stopped.
Sir Alex Ferguson naturally had a word to say. He claimed that “foreign players” are the worst culprits when it comes to diving. He said: “It’s not worth going into that subject because down the years there have been plenty of players diving, and you have to say particularly foreign players.”