By Walter Broeckx
Well can you believe it. Untold asks the PGMO to speak up and to come out of the dark and on the same day Mike Riley comes out to talk about referees and fouls in the PL. This can be found on the BBC website over here
First let us see at the numbers that have been provided by the Premier League in this article on the fouls in England and in other top leagues across Europe.
|Country||League||Fouls per game|
Figures provided by the Premier League.
Riley said: “The Premier League is markedly lower in the number of free-kicks per game than the other top leagues across Europe,” says PGMOL boss Mike Riley.
“The game in Italy is slightly different – there are more stoppages and less physical contact – and the same is probably true in Spain as well. It is interesting that the trend across the top leagues in Europe has seen the number of fouls reduced too.
“However, our game is more free-flowing, more physical contact and the spectacle everyone wants to see.”
If I may put another quote from another person who once was active in the PL against the words of Riley. I quote: ‘The fouls are harder and as a result there are more serious injuries‘. These was said by Eduardo in an interview a few weeks ago. I wonder Mr. Riley if Eduardo is has happy with the more physical contact as you seem to be? Of course it’s easy for a ref to let things flow. After all it is not the ref who will be looking at his leg hanging off in unnatural angles after a free flowing physical contact.
And do you really think that people will look to the PL to see players with their limbs hanging off to see such things? I really don’t think so Mr. Riley.
What I do know is that this difference is inexplicable. I do know that refs in Germany, Spain and Italy are quicker to call a foul. And does this have as a result that the game flow is slower in those countries? I doubt it. Whenever I see the Bundesliga I usually see a fast paced game and unless Bayern Munich is playing it usually is a very open game with both teams attacking the other goal. With Bayern Munich it usually is a one sided game with the opponents rather trying to defend but seldom do I see a real parking of the bus in the Bundesliga.
It looks as if Mr. Riley is proud of his refs calling almost 30% less fouls than the refs on the continent. What I did notice when watching the Bundesliga is that I don’t see many dangerous challenges. Usually the players have themselves in hand and don’t go in too dangerous. And when they do the refs are quickly to hand out red cards and get rid of such behaviour. So it would be interesting to see how this would compare to the PL.
Because not calling the fouls usually results in players getting frustrated and throwing themselves in to opponents in a more dangerous way. Leading to injuries and…. more stoppages in the game. So calling less fouls might result in …less playing time in the long run.
From the numbers we can learn that the number of fouls committed by Premier League players has dropped by 22% since 2006, according to figures released for the first time.
“The gradual decline in free-kicks has made the game more fast flowing, more exciting and more entertaining,” said referees’ chief Mike Riley.
Top-flight players committed 8,562 fouls in the 380 matches of the 2012-13 season at an average of 22.5 per match. In 2005-06, 10,886 fouls were committed at an average of 28.6 per match. However, last season’s total is a slight increase from the 2011-12 campaign, when a total of 8,307 fouls were awarded at an average of 21.9 per match – the lowest figure in the past 10 years of top-flight football.
However, Riley says he has no concerns about the physicality of the top-flight.
“The balance between physicality and player protection is right,” said Riley. “Fewer free-kicks result in things such as an increase in average goals per game and average shots in the game.
“Everything in the Premier League is moving towards an exciting game that people want to see.
“You have to accept that football is a fast-flowing game, passionate and very committed – that’s one of the attractions of the Premier League. And within that there will always be incidents where people take a different view.
“It’s important we analyse all refereeing decisions but then go to the players and managers to debate that analysis so that throughout the season we get a consistent line that everyone thinks is acceptable.”
So we see that Riley is saying that they analyse all referee decisions. Do they? And are they consistent? Really, Mr. Riley?
And then we get the most important question of them all. A question that Mr. Riley never is able to answer. The question: how many of those decisions were correct? Because in a way it doesn’t matter how many decisions a ref makes. What matters most is that those decisions are correct. And that is the answer Mr. Riley needs to answer.
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