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Season Review of Referees 2013-2014 – Part 1. The bogeymen and the makeweights

by Andrew Crawshaw

This is the first part of a review of the referees for the past league season and is a summary of who we had, how often and what our results were.

The PGMOL have 18 referees on their panel from which they select referees for Premier League matches, so you would expect each referee to be used for about 21 games (380 games divided by 18 referees). However being the PGMOL things don’t quite work out like that. The following table is from the Barclays Premier League Website and has the overall match and card statistics :-

 

Referee Matches Yellow Cards Red Cards
Martin Atkinson 27 86 5
Mark Clattenberg 27 96 3
Mike Dean 27 101 5
Phil Dowd 27 121 7
Roger East 5 20 1
Chris Foy 23 64 6
Kevin Friend 18 59 2
Michael Jones 18 55 2
Robert Madley 5 17 1
Andre Marriner 26 78 8
Lee Mason 26 78 5
Jonathan Moss 23 72 3
Michael Oliver 27 96 3
Craig Pawson 10 28 0
Lee Probert 21 32 2
Neil Swarbrick 20 72 0
Anthony Taylor 19 66 3
Howard Webb 31 93 2

 

So Roger East plus Robert Madley plus Craig Pawson are the equivalent of one referee in terms of workload, meaning that effectively there are only 16 referees, not the headline number of 18.

This also means that the effective seasonal workload per referee rises from 21 to 24. Ideally each referee should do no more than one home and one away game per team during the course of a season – this would require a minimum of 19 referees (and probably 20 or 21 to allow for scheduling issues) so the PGMOL needs to do more to increase the number of referees and balance out the workload better.

Now on to Arsenal this year and keeping the referees order the same

Referee Matches Arsenal Won Drawn Lost
Martin Atkinson 27 4 2 0 2
Mark Clattenberg 27 3 2 1 0
Mike Dean 27 4 2 2 0
Phil Dowd 27 1 1 0 0
Roger East 5 0
Chris Foy 23 1 1 0 0
Kevin Friend 18 1 1 0 0
Michael Jones 18 2 1 0 1
Robert Madley 5 0
Andre Marriner 26 3 2 0 1
Lee Mason 26 4 2 2 0
Jonathan Moss 23 3 3 0 0
Michael Oliver 27 3 1 0 2
Craig Pawson 10 0
Lee Probert 21 4 3 1 0
Neil Swarbrick 20 2 2 0 0
Anthony Taylor 19 1 0 0 1
Howard Webb 31 2 1 1 0

 

So stand out numbers :-

• Lee Probert has refereed Arsenal 4 times out of his 21 game total (and we have him again in the cup final) that is nearly 20% of his total workload a ridiculous percentage of his games.

• We didn’t lose any of the four games with Dean in charge – a major change from recent years. Mind you he still didn’t give us a penalty so no change there.

• The ‘make weight’ triumvirate of East/Madley/Pawson weren’t trusted with a single game involving Arsenal. Of the teams in the top five; East did two Everton games, Madley did one Everton game and Pawson did one Liverpool and one Everton game.

• The busiest of all referees Howard Webb was only allocated to Arsenal twice, of the other top 5, he did City , Liverpool and Everton three times and Chelsea four.

• We had four visits from each of Atkinson, Dean, Probert and Mason and three from Clattenberg, Marriner, Moss and Oliver. In total that is 25 of our 38 games refereed by officials who have a reputation of being anti-Arsenal. I have excluded Moss from these figures as he had one of the lowest anti-Arsenal bias figures from last year.

• ‘Bogey’ referees this year were Taylor (100% loss and a disgraceful display of refereeing on opening day); Oliver (two losses out of three games) and Atkinson (two losses out of four including the awful refereeing of the 6-3 loss at City).

This series continues…

17 comments to Season Review of Referees 2013-2014 – Part 1. The bogeymen and the makeweights

  • Mandy Dodd

    We certainly get our share of controversial refs, and have done for some time.
    On the subject of refs, one of Dowds ridiculous red cards from the Liverpool Newcastle game has been rescinded.
    Dowd……at best blew a fuse in that game
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27401986

  • Mandy Dodd

    https://mobile.twitter.com/footballisfixed

    Another source giving out similar info on the ref situation. Scroll down, he believes arsenal come in at number 20 in terms of ref bias. Interesting the way Pulis is so favoured wherever he goes, if this implying the LMA might have some influence with refs? And on that subject, how on earth did Pulis get LMA prem manager of the year, seems like the LMA heavily favours the home grown managers these days.

  • Gord

    Sorry, nothing to do with your bogey men Andrew, but it would get lost in the debate being paid for by ManCity about how bad ManCity is.

    There are no end of threads which are about “N things we learned about XYZ”. And in general, these are observations and not learning, because we can find these same clowns learning the same thing over and over again.

    But, for those who are good at satire, how about N things the BBC (Sky, TalkShite, …) learned about football? Or N things pundits learned about football?

    I’ve been out in the sun too long today, I’ll be back later to look at your ref list. Have a great morning/day/evening/sleep.

  • Gord

    I am 2/3 of the way through the referee list, finding where people were born and where they are currently living.

    In general, it looks like all the referees (at the beginnning of the list) live within a few miles of where they were born. Is this normal in England (as someone who lives in the second largest country on Earth)?

  • Gord

    I got through all of the list, and this seems to be almost uniform across EPL referees.

  • Fiddler

    here is a ery funny article about how injuries apparently didnt affect our season
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/stats-prove-injuries-were-not-3518023

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Great work as always ,Andrew . Many thanks for all the effort that you’ve put over the whole season. Keep up the good work.
    Do hope things change for the better next season. They was an obvious shift from ManUre this term .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A belated ‘ Happy Mother’s Day’ to all you fine ladies for the incredible job you do ….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY

  • WalterBroeckx

    Gord,

    an interesting fact you mention there. The fact that most refs seems to hold on to where they have been born. So could it also be that they just hold on to ‘the clubs from their region’? If even only subconscious favouring them?
    Put them both together and you get the reason why London clubs are having hard times with some refs. An averse reaction against the capital?
    I think this is a known feeling in many countries where the people from outside the capital dislike anything coming from the capital.
    And this might be one of the reasons that Arsenal but also Tottenham and other London clubs have seen things going against them in a strange way?

  • Gord

    The average latitude for the 46 teams that have played in the Premier League is 52.6805N, which is about the latitude of Norwich.

    If I weight each latitude by how many times the team has appeared in the EPL, the average latitude heads a little north to 52.7446N (not quite 4 miles north).

    If I weight each latitude by the “local population”, the average latitude heads about 26 miles south to 52.2486N, about the same as Coventry. The “sampled” population is about 31,750,000, which is about 56.6% of the population of England and Wales.

    Okay, do the same thing for referees (where they live). Disregarding how many times they appeared, the average latitude for referees in the EPL is 53.3205N, which is about the latitude of Sheffield. About 64 miles further north than the population weighted average EPL team location.

    This doesn’t seem like a big distance to me, but the Session Summary map from the
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992%E2%80%9393_FA_Premier_League
    shows both Coventry and Sheffield for those who haven’t memorized the geography of England and Wales.

    As Andrew pointed out, the mean number of games done per official, is about 21 (21 1/9). The mean latitude of residence is 53.31N. Just using the integer number of years, the mean age of referees is almost 42, and the mean number of years on the Select list is 5.72.

    The correlation between games done and years on the select list is 0.77. The correlation between games done and age is 0.23. The correlation between number of games done and latitude of residence is 0.36.

  • Gord

    Do the age properly, I get 0.24 (from 0.23). Minor adjustment. For the heck of it, look at the correlation between number of games and the population the referee lives in: -0.51. A stronger correlation than latitude, but negative (smaller population centers).

    This is the model free correlation:

    C = (g – )(l – ) / Sigma(g)Sigma(l)

  • Gord

    Bah, filtering angle brackets. G minus the mean of G and L minus the mean of L. You sum over the product of those differences, and then divide the total by the standard deviation (N-1 weighting I believe) of G and the standard deviation of L. Runs from +1 to -1.

  • Gord

    Some of the “residence populations” are bogus. For instance, some of the referees are from Greater Manchester. What do you use for a population?

  • Gord

    Population size is not easy to pin down. Take former referee Steve Bennett. He was born in what has become a part of London (Farnborough), and as near as I can tell, still lives there (or did when in the EPL). Is the population size a few thousand, or 13 million?

  • Gord

    I went through all of the former select referee list as well.

    People have asked about non-Caucasian referees. The only one on the select or former select list is Uriah Rennie. Born in Sheffield, most of his life in South Yorkshire. He is now associated (was associated?) with Hallam FC, which is apparently the oldest field in England.

    If people want to analyse old games, Barry Knight from May 2000 Bolton-Ipswich or Matt Messias Wolves v Millwall 2003.

    There seems to be a lot of referee “retirements” (or demotions) due to bad decisions. Sure, demotions should happen for consistent bad judgement. I see no need for demotion for a one time event, unless that one time event was instigated by game fixing. I wonder how many of those demotions or retirements could have been avoided with better technology.

    People talk about video replay, my want is of this desire, but I don’t want standard TV video replay. I want something like 200 fps. I want officials to have microphones and earphones.

    I want that data to be publically available (and transcripts for audio tracts). Sure, wait some length of time before making things public (months, not centuries).

    David Elleray talks about the wrongly blown whistle. FIFA/IFAB needs to address this, because it does happen. The whistle can get blown by accident. In the middle of the field, a drop ball makes sense. In a penalty area, a drop ball does not make sense. Just off the top of my head, a wrongly blown whistle in the penalty area should result in a “sort of” free kick from maybe 25m out. And I say sort of, because the team that was in control of the ball when the false whistle was blown, is the team taking the kick. But all players from both teams (except for 1 goaltender) has to be “behind the ball” at the moment the free kick is taken.

    In the history of the EPL, it doesn’t look like there is a north/south bias. There may be at the moment. I don’t live in London, I don’t know how many people play football in London. But it seems that there is a lack of referees from London.

    Also going through the retired select list referees, there is a definite tendency for referees to have been based from the community they were born in. Is there a problem with referees that are mobile?

  • Gord

    Referees have “day jobs”. I wonder if this is desirable at the top league level for any country. Depending on the job, it shouldn’t be unacceptable.

    English teams participate in UEFA leagues (during the week), and consequently top level referees may be required to “work” mid week. Similar elsewhere. The fitness requirement for the top level are likely to be higher than for lower levels. Which means referees may need more time for fitness training. Top level referees should be studying situations outside of games, but they should not be studying the teams in the next (twice next, thrice next, …) games.

    I don’t think a referee needs to resign from a job in order to work at the top level. For example, if a referee also happens to be a consulting engineer, it may be possible to do both at the same time. If the referee is a mechanic at Joe’s Auto Sales, there is probably no way to do this.

    As the latest revenue figures from TV for the EPL point out, the top leagues are making a lot of money.

    Referees want to be well thought of, and respected. Perhaps referees should visit schools on a regular basis? In a teaching capacity, teach students how to do parts of the game, that often draw the attention of referees. Have schools set up a referee program, whereby students who referee games in their (or lower) age group, get instruction from an professional referee.

    Even at the professional level, we find players doing things that warrant a straight red card. Perhaps referees should be allowed to “officiate” at practices (off-season), to instruct players who should know better. That could be scheduled.

    There are probably other things, especially at a grassroots level, that top level professional referees could do.

    The end result is that the “day job” salary plus the appearance fees for doing games adequately pays for referees to consider refereeing as an occupation.

    Doing a rough calculation, there is 1500 million Pounds Stirling in the TV revenue. Take 1 million Pounds Stirling out, to pay EPL referees to do things as their “day job”. If there are 19 EPL referees, that represents a bit more than 52 thousand Pounds Stirling a referee can be paid for doing things about being a referee, that has nothing to do with actually officiating games.

    If some referees “opt-out” because they have other things to do in their day job, that can leave more money for the others. What is more responsible is to bank the difference and then distribute the excess over time in some reasonable way.

    Or, that is an idea.