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Referee Match Distribution: Is the Premier League the same as other top European leagues?

 

Preliminaries

Untold has argued for a number of years that the way refereeing is organised within the Premier League is different from that of other major leagues in Europe, but has similarities to the way in which Italian football was organised in the Calciopoli era in Italy in 2005/6.   Our argument is that this is not only unsafe, but there is no possible benefit to the Premier League in arranging matters this way.

This does not prove any corruption of the sort that existed in Italy in 2005/6 is happening in relation to Premier League refereeing, but we suggest it is a curious approach to take, especially when allied to other unusual aspects of the way refereeing is organised in the Premier League.

This article examines in a statistical manner whether the assertion that refereeing in the Premier League is organised in a different way from the other major leagues of Europe, but in a similar manner to the way refereeing was organised in Italy at the time of its notorious corruption era.

We do appreciate that statistics of this nature are not everyone’s cup of tea, so in the next article we shall be looking at the implication of the statistics, but without using the numbers.



 

Referee Matches Distribution: The Premier League same as other top European leagues?

By Jerry Thomas

Introduction

An analysis of the total number of full time referees as well as the number of matches distributed among the full time referees was conducted to compare the Premier League (PL) to other top European leagues including Spain’s Primera División (aka La Liga), Italy’s Serie A, German Bundesliga, and France Ligue 1.

The number of full time referees and the distribution of matches between them in the PL are commonly stated to be the same as other leagues without further evaluation.

The article will attempt to answer if the PL referee match distribution of full time referees is the same as other European leagues (equal variances).

First, the method, and the statistical basis of the evidence.

The first step was to create a cut off point for the minimum amount of matches officiated to be considered a full time referee.  A minim cut off point to be considered full time was created based on a typical full time employment schedule of a 40 hour work which equals 23.8% of the total hours (40/168 hrs) or days (1.67/7 days) in a week.

The minimum cutoff to be considered a full time ref was set at 9.04 for leagues with 38 match weeks (23.8% of 38 matches: PL, Spain, Italy, and France). The German Bundesliga has only 34 match weeks resulting in a minimum requirement of 8.09 to be considered a full time ref (23.8% of 34 match weeks).

The data on the number of matches officiated in each league was collected from worldfootball.net and then to ensure accuracy was cross referenced with league websites when available (PL and France Ligue 1) or other websites such as soccerbase or transfermarkt.

After the data was collected, the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation were calculated for each league.  The standard deviation is a measure of how spread out the numbers in a sample is and is the square root of variance.

Next, an F-Test for Two-Sample Variance was then conducted to test if the null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to other top leagues.

The alternative hypothesis is that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is not equal to other top leagues.

The null hypothesis (the variances are equal) is rejected if the calculated F statistic is greater than the calculated F critical value. Now on to what everyone has been waiting for: the results.

Results

Table A

*PL Refs Spain Primera División Refs 15/16 Italy Serie A 2015/16 Germany Bundesliga
Name M. Name M. Name M. Name M.
Dean 33 A. Undiano Mallenco 22 A. Gervasoni 19 Dr. F. Brych 19
A. Taylor 31 C. Clos Gómez 21 G. Rocchi 18 F. Zwayer 18
M. Clattenburg 30 J. González González 21 D. Celi 18 M. Gräfe 18
M. Atkinson 29 J. Estrada Fernández 20 M. Irrati 18 S. Stegemann 17
M. Jones 28 A. Mateu Lahoz 20 D. Massa 17 D. Siebert 17
C. Pawson 28 E. Prieto Iglesias 20 M. Di Bello 17 W. Stark 17
R. Madley 26 A. Hernández Hernández 20 D. Doveri 17 C. Dingert 16
M. Oliver 26 C. Del Cerro Grande 19 P. Mazzoleni 17 K. Kircher 16
R. East 25 I. Iglesias Villanueva 19 L. Banti 17 T. Stieler 16
J. Moss 25 I. Vicandi Garrido 19 N. Rizzoli 17 M. Fritz 15
A. Marriner 24 S. Jaime Latre 19 G. Calvarese 16 B. Dankert 15
L. Mason 22 J. Sánchez Martínez 19 C. Russo 16 F. Meyer 15
K. Friend 20 J. Gil Manzano 19 P. Giacomelli 16 T. Welz 15
N. Swarbick 18 R. De Burgos Bengoetxea 19 M. Guida 16 D. Aytekin 15
    D. Fernández Borbalán 19 D. Orsato 16 G. Perl 12
FT Ref Cutoff = 9.04 C. Velasco Carballo 18 P. Valeri 16 R. Hartmann 12
*5 refs <4 matches   A. Álvarez Izquierdo 18 A. Damato 16 P. Sippel 12
    J. Martínez Munuera 18 A. Cervellera 15 G. Winkmann 12
FIFA Ref   P. Pérez Montero 17 M. Fabbri 14 B. Brand 9
M. Melero López 13 P. Tagliavento 14    
    M. Mariani 14 FT Ref Cutoff= 8.09
FT Ref Cutoff = 9.04 C. Gavillucci 14 *4 refs < 7 matches
* All refs included above      
FT Ref Cutoff= 9.04
*13 Refs < 3 matches

 

The Premier League

England PL 2015/16
# of FT refs 14
Mean 26.07
Median 26
Mode 28
Standard Deviation 4.20

Right away, one will notice that only 14 referees in the PL can be considered full time based on the established minimum requirement of 9.04. There were 5 referees (Attwell, Tierney, Scott, Stroud, and Hooper) who did not make the cut to be considered full time due to only officiating 4 or less matches. This is further supported by the fact that Attwell and Tierney were only recently promoted to the Select Group for next season.  But how did the PL compare to other leagues?

 

  • Premier League vs Spain’s Primera División 15/16
PL Spain Primera División
FT ref cut off 9.04 9.04
# of FT refs 14 20
Mean 26.07 19
Median 26 19
Mode 28 19
Standard Deviation 4.20 1.84
  1. The PL was found to have 6 fewer full time referees than La Liga (14 vs 20) and had an average of 7 more matches than their Spanish counterparts (26.07 to 19). All the refs that did matches in La Liga were full time (20).
  2. The mean, median, and mode are also much higher in the PL compared to Spain. In fact, Spain had almost ideal results of a normal distribution (mean = median = mode).
  3. The standard deviation (SD) or how spread out the ref match distribution in the PL was also much higher (4.20 to 1.84). One SD from the mean equals 68% of the data, while 95% of the data will be within 2 SDs. For example, in 1 SD, 68% of the PL refs will be found between 21.87 and 30.27, while in Spain 68% of the refs will have done between 17.16 and 20.84 matches. The ref match distribution was much less spread out in Spain.

An F test was then performed to test if this difference was significant enough to reject the null hypothesis.

F-Test Two-Sample for Variances PL vs Spain’s La Liga
  PL La Liga
Mean 26.07 19
Variance 17.61 3.37
Observations 14 20
df 13 19
F 5.23
P(F<=f) one-tail 0.00063745
F Critical one-tail 2.28  

The null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to the refs match distribution in Spain’s La Liga is rejected based on the results of the F test with an F value of 5.23 greater than the F critical value of 2.28. The variance of the PL is significantly different compared to Spain’s Primera División.

 

  • PL vs Italy Serie A 2015/16
PL Italy Serie A 2015/6
FT Ref Cutoff 9.04 9.04
# of FT refs 14 22
Mean 26.07 16.27
Median 26 16
Mode 28 16
Standard Deviation 4.20 1.42

 

  1. The PL is found to have 8 fewer full time refs than Serie A (14 vs 22) and had an average of almost 10 more matches than their Italian counterparts (26.07 to 16.27).
  2. Italy also had 13 refs that were not full time who had done 3 or fewer matches.
  3. Once again, the mean, median, and mode are much higher in the PL compared to Italy, with Italy having almost ideal results of a normal distribution (mean = median = mode).
  4. The standard deviation (SD) or how spread out the ref match distribution in the PL was also much higher than Serie A (4.20 to 1.42). In 1 SD, 68% of the PL refs will be found between 21.87 and 30.27, while 68% of the Italian refs will have done between 14.85 and 17.69 matches. The ref match distribution was once again much less spread out in Italy compared to the PL, but significant enough to reject the null hypothesis?
F-Test Two-Sample for Variances PL vs Italy Serie A 15/16
  PL Serie A
Mean 26.07 16.27
Variance 17.61 2.02
Observations 14 22
df 13 21
F 8.73
P(F<=f) one-tail 0.00000895
F Critical one-tail 2.22  

 

The null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to the refs match distribution in Italy’s Serie A is rejected based on the results of the F test with an F value of 8.73 greater than the F critical value of 2.22. The variance of the PL is significantly different compared to Italy. How about in Germany?

 

  • PL vs German Bundesliga 2015/16
PL Bundesliga
FT Ref Cutoff 9.04 8.09
# of FT refs 14 19
Mean 26.07 15.05
Median 26 15
Mode 28 15
Standard Deviation 4.20 2.59
  1. The PL is found to have 5 fewer full time refs than the Bundesliga (14 vs 19), but an average of about 11 more matches than their German counterparts (26.07 to 15.05).
  2. Germany also had 4 refs that were not full time who had 7 or fewer matches.
  3. Once again, the mean, median, and mode are much higher in the PL compared to Germany, with the Bundesliga having almost ideal results of a normal distribution (mean = median = mode).
  4. The standard deviation (SD) or how spread out the ref match distribution in the PL was also much higher than Germany (4.20 to 2.59). In 1 SD, 68% of the PL refs will be found between 21.87 and 30.27, while 68% of the German refs will have done between 12.46 and 17.64 matches. The ref match distribution was once again much less spread out in Germany compared to the PL, but significant enough to reject the null hypothesis?
F-Test Two-Sample for Variances PL vs German Bundesliga
  PL Bundesliga
Mean 26.07 15.05
Variance 17.61 6.72
Observations 14 19
df 13 18
F 2.62
P(F<=f) one-tail 0.0299
F Critical one-tail 2.31  

 

The null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to the refs match distribution in Germany’s Bundesliga is rejected based on the results of the F test with an F value of 2.62 greater than the F critical value of 2.31. The variance of the PL is significantly different compared to the Bundesliga. The PL ref match distribution is now found to be significantly different than 3 other top European football leagues (Spain, Germany, and Italy), how about in France?

Table B.

*PL Refs French Ligue 1* *Calciopoli Italy 2006
Name M. Name M. Name M.
Dean 33 B. Millot 23 G. Paparesta 19
A. Taylor 31 L. Jaffredo 21 M. Trefoloni 19
M. Clattenburg 30 S. Moreira 20 M. De Santis 18
M. Atkinson 29 A. Gautier 20 T. Pieri 18
M. Jones 28 R. Buquet 20 D. Messina 17
C. Pawson 28 F. Fautrel 20 S. Farina 16
R. Madley 26 B. Varela 20 R. Rosetti 16
M. Oliver 26 T. Chapron 20 P. Bertini 15
R. East 25 M. Lesage 20 N. Rizzoli** 14
J. Moss 25 N. Rainville 18 S. Racalbuto 13
A. Marriner 24 F. Schneider 18 P. Rodomonti 13
L. Mason 22 C. Turpin 18 M. Saccani 13
K. Friend 20 J. Hamel 18 P. Tagliavento** 13
N. Swarbick 18 B. Bastien 18 E. Morganti 12
    J. Miguelgorry 18 N. Ayroldi 11
FT Ref Cutoff = 9.04 S. Jochem 16 A. De Marco 11
*5 refs <4 matches   H. Ben El Hadj 15 P. Dondarini 11
    S. Lannoy 14 G. Rocchi** 11
    S. Ennjimi 13 A. Dattilo 10
    A. Delerue 12 L. Palanca 10
    W. Bien 10 D. Tombolini 10
       
FT Ref Cutoff= 9.04 **Currently Active refs
*1 refs < 9 matches FT Ref Cutoff= 9.04
*19 refs <9 matches

 

  • PL vs French Ligue 1 2015/16
PL France Ligue 1
FT Ref Cutoff 9.04 9.04
# of FT refs 14 21
Mean 26.07 17.71
Median 26 18
Mode 28 20
Standard Deviation 4.20 3.27
  1. The PL is found to have 7 fewer full time refs than Ligue 1 (14 vs 21), but an average of about 9 more matches than their French counterparts (26.07 to 17.71).
  2. France also had 1 ref that did not qualify as full time with 9 or fewer matches.
  3. Once again, the mean, median, and mode are much higher in the PL compared to France, with the Ligue 1 having slightly variations of an expected normal distribution (mean = median = mode).
  4. The standard deviation (SD) or how spread out the ref match distribution in the PL was higher than France (4.20 to 3.27). In 1 SD, 68% of the PL refs will be found between 21.87 and 30.27, while 68% of the French refs will have done between 14.44 and 20.98 matches. The ref match distribution was once again spread out less in France compared to the PL, but significant enough to reject the null hypothesis?
F-Test Two-Sample for Variances PL vs. French Ligue 1
  PL Ligue 1
Mean 26.07 17.71
Variance 17.61 10.71
Observations 14 21
df 13 20
F 1.64
P(F<=f) one-tail 0.154
F Critical one-tail 2.25  

 

The null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to the refs match distribution in France’s Ligue 1 is NOT rejected* based on the results of the F test with an F value of 1.64 less than the F critical value of 2.25. The variance of the PL ref match distribution is not significantly different compared to the Ligue 1. The PL ref match distribution is now found to be similar to 1 top European league (France Ligue 1) and significantly different than the other top 3 European football leagues (Spain, Germany, and Italy).

*The ref match distribution of France Ligue 1FT referees may have been skewed due to injury/retirement as the two lowest full time refs in France (W. Bien and A. Delerue) officiated 16-19 matches in each of the prior 4 seasons. Bien has not officiated since December 2015.*

Now, a comparison to a very special league will also be performed.

 

  • PL vs Italy Calciopoli 2005/06
PL Calciopoli 05/06
FT Ref Cutoff 9.04 9.04
# of FT refs 14 21
Mean 26.07 13.81
Median 26 13
Mode 28 13
Standard Deviation 4.20 3.09
  1. The PL is found to have 7 fewer full time refs than Calciopoli Italy 05/06 (14 vs 21), but an average of about 12 more matches than their Italian Calciopoli counterparts (26.07 to 13.81).
  2. Calciopoli Italy also had 19 refs that did not qualify as full time with 9 or fewer matches.
  3. Once again, the mean, median, and mode are much higher in the PL compared to Calciopoli Italy, having slightly variations of an expected normal distribution (mean = median = mode).
  4. The standard deviation (SD) or how spread out the ref match distribution in the PL was higher than Calciopoli Italy (4.20 to 3.09). In 1 SD, 68% of the PL refs will be found between 21.87 and 30.27, while 68% of the Calciopoli refs will have done between 10.72 and 16.9 matches. The ref match distribution was spread out slightly less in Calciopoli compared to the PL, but was the difference significant enough to reject the null hypothesis?
F-Test Two-Sample for Variances PL vs Calciopoli 05/06
  PL Calciopoli
Mean 26.07 13.81
Variance 17.61 9.56
Observations 14 21
df 13 20
F 1.84
P(F<=f) one-tail 0.106
F Critical one-tail 2.25  

 

The null hypothesis that the PL refs match distribution (variance) is equal to the refs match distribution in Calciopoli Italy 05/06 is NOT rejected based on the results of the F test with an F value of 1.84 less than the F critical value of 2.25. The variance of the PL ref match distribution is not significantly different compared to Calciopoli Italy.

Summary

1) The PL ref match distribution variance is similar to Calciopoli Italy of 2005/06 and France Ligue 1*.

*France Ligue 1 full time referees may have been skewed due to injury/retirement as the two lowest full time refs in France (W. Bien and A. Delerue) had officiated 16-19 matches in the prior 4 seasons. Bien has not officiated since December 2015. *

2) The PL ref match distribution was significantly different than 3 other top European football leagues (Spain, Germany, and Italy).

3) The PL (14) had fewer full time referees than all comparative European leagues: Spain La Liga (20), Italy Serie A (22), German Bundesliga (19), France Ligue 1(21), as well as Calciopoli Italy (21).

4) The PL average (mean) of games officiated was higher than every other top European league.

Fewer refs doing more games with unequal distribution among the officials than other European leagues, the Premier League truly stands out on their own.

  1. i.e. The PL had 11 referees that officiated more matches than ALL other European leagues (France- Benoit Millot [23])

5) Steps for PL referee match distribution improvement:

  1. Increase number of full time referees (14) similar to other European leagues (19 – 22)
  2. Most importantly, distribute matches more evenly among full time referees similar to other top leagues(i.e. Spain, Italy, and Germany, NOT Calciopoli Italy).
  3. An equal distribution of matches among a greater number of referees will help reduce referee fatigue and errors throughout the season.

*This article is not implying that referee corruption similar to Calciopoli Italy 2005/06 is happening in the current Premier League, but stating simply that steps should be taken to bring referee match distribution similar to all other top European leagues.*


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27 comments to Referee Match Distribution: Is the Premier League the same as other top European leagues?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Over to you Mike (Riley I mean)

  • Thanks for this analysis.
    It clearly points to a concern that has been voiced many times. The EPL has too few refs and those refs are officiating too many games.
    Will we see any change in the EPL/PGMO? Unfortunately I doubt it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Jerry for this great article.

    It confirms what I have been saying for years now: there are simply not enough referees in the PL.
    As a result referees have to do much more matches than their fellow referees in other top leagues. Leading to more fatigue and more errors.
    And the influence each ref can have on the outcome of the league becomes bigger.
    One ref doing 4 matches of team A and B in one season can make a difference of (4 x 3) x 2 = a possible 24 points swing between those two teams. Supposing he screws team A to 4 defeats and helps team B to 4 wins.

    Then remember we had Dean up to 6 times in some season screwing us over and over and over and over and over again. That was like 18 points lost before we kicked a ball in such a season! And then helping our opponents in some of his other matches…
    I’m not saying this is happening like that but the possibility is there. And with Dean… we know what happened all those years (and last year)

  • nicky

    In these days of easy travel, a pool of referees drawn from throughout UEFA would seem to me the answer.
    No more UK referees to officiate at UK matches.

  • Gord

    Hi Jerry.

    I’m guessing this is part of what you wanted to have me look through?

    It looks like a nice article. The only point I would waffle on, is the EPL being different from the Bundesliga. The numbers are small, which is typical of all football statistics. The F test assumes the underlying statistics are Gaussian. So, it may be that if we could properly calculate what is happening, that the two F-ratio’s (the one you calculated is probably fine, it is the tabulated value which may be in doubt because the underlying statistics may not be Gaussian) are not indicating a difference.

    But, I think you did a bang up job.

    The object of your analysis is not to perfectly analyze the situation. The object of your analysis is to give people who are more used to doing this kind of thing, a reason to look at the numbers.

    And I think you were completely successful in that regard.

  • Gord

    I am not a statistician. I live in a world where statistics are real. Temperature is a constant times the average kinetic energy of the molecules. For fluids, pressure is a constant times the average momentum of molecules. There is no lying.

    In learning statistics and then obtaining a minor in statistical mechanics in my M.Eng., I have grown to really dislike the idea of a “normal distribution”. I can readily agree that many operations on a large enough stream of data can approach a Gaussian distribution in a limit, I really think it does a dis-service to mankind to assume that the Gaussian distribution is “normal”.

    I think that all real problems should be analyzed by Monte Carlo (or similar). And I think that deviates from a Cauchy distribution should be snuck in where possible. There is nothing quite like having a little infinite variance disturb our ideas about what is really happening.

  • Rich

    Great stuff.

    What a shame that there’s not enough money in English football to do anything about bringing through more referees.

    Same with the Northern imbalance. I’m sure they know that ideally it would be different, but alas quality refs from the south just aren’t there and, again, the lack of money in English football means they can’t sort it out.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Whilst Aresena had no referee more than four times last season (Anthony Taylor, Mark Clattenburg, Craig Pawson and Jonathon Moss) those four referees accounted for 16/38 = 42% of all of our games.

    Clattenburg refereed six Chelsea games and Dean did six United games.

    Dean also did five games at both Aston Villa and West Ham, Jones five at Palace, Marriner five at each of Everton and Liverpool, Madley five at City, Oliver five at United and Taylor five at Watford.

    None of these iare healthy. The PL should have sufficient referees to ensure that no team has any referee more than twice in a season, once at home and once away. If the PGMO cannot source sufficient from this country that should bring in suitably experienced and qualified candidates from overseas in exactly the same way as any other UK business.

  • para

    I wish that this article will, like many other Untold ones, cause a reaction that will grow until we get something done about it. That at least the ones who are paid to do these things, get off their arses and do their job.

    Has anyone wondered if the situation of refs in the PL does not deliberately contribute to the “fallacy” that the PL is better?

    There are many reasons for people outside the UK to watch PL, but i dont think that “it being better” is one of them.

  • Brad

    Great analysis; well done. I wonder if the other leagues have the same regional bias as us too (ie most refs from a particular region such as us in the North/North West)??

  • norman14

    What a great article, and draws conclusions (with evidence) that disqualifies anything PGMOL tell us.

    On another note, regarding PL referees: Why DID Mark Clattenburg officiate so much differently in the CL final, than he does in the EPL?

    More proof that the game in England is “suspicious” to say the least.

  • Menace

    Rich – Am I missing something here? ‘but alas quality refs from the south just aren’t there’. Are you calling Northern refs quality? As far as I have seen most of the (northern) refs are pretty poor, specially when it comes to consistency of application of Laws.

    My view is that all areas of England & Wales should be represented in the FA’s list of officials. Selection of officials from this list must be transparent & democratic. Private Limited companies with a selection of moth ridden officials is not suitable for this century.

  • Jerry

    Thank you to everyone for the responses.
    @Gord,
    In regards to Germany, I agree it was very close and was one of the reasons I was hoping to get an email from you. In fact, Germany was similar to the PL about 6 weeks ago when I first started the evaluation, but since then, the league corrected itself and assigned more matches to the referees at the lower end of their ref table.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for a very interesting article.
    Concerning.
    Unfortunately, our head of referees is not known for his ability, his communication skills, but for his acquiescence to the powerful.
    His consistent failure, whether deliberate or not….to bring through sufficient referees, of sufficient quality should be a matter of resignation.
    A man as useless as Mike Riley in such an important post to me indicates he is a pawn….albeit a willing pawn….only there because person or persons who are powerful want him there. They question is, why do they want this embarrassment to the game in this country as head of the PGMOL?

  • finsbury

    If a structure is engineered to fail, then it won’t be able to stand up (for very long at least).

    Given the obvious attacks upon the work done by this site in the Spring, I’m looking forward to the trolls not being capable of trolling this article – one might try talking to itself after this comment, I. The comments below, probably the same “new” one as in some other new articles, but that’s about it.

    There is no rational or reasonable explanation that can be supplied to explain the PGMOBs conduct, because there aren’t any.

  • Al

    Great article,,Jerry. This is the thing that needs to be fixed first, before implementing video refereeing, in my opinion. If the pgmob structure remains unchanged, then the effectiveness of video refereeing will be severely undermined; it’ll only work on clear cut things like offsides but remain ineffective on more important things like yellow or red card tackles etc. Just implementing a rule that says no ref shall do one team more than two times per season can dramatically change things in the PL. Add an equal geographical dispersion to the equation and we’re talking. Video refereeing will be the icing on the cake. Of course with other leagues video refereeing will be the most important change as they don’t suffer the same ills as the PL with regards to referee appointments.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Jerry , truly a great job – well done .

  • Andy Mack

    Rich, I don’t think there’s any lack of quality for southern (especially south eastern) refs. It’s just that they don’t get picked by the PGMO.

    Jerry, Thanks for the numbers. It’s a sad reflection on the PGMO that we use less referees than the Bundesliga which has only 18 teams in it and therefore has less games.

  • Jammy J

    @ Norman – Unfortunately the obvious difference of officiating in the CL final and PL, is seen as a good thing to your average English fan. These absolute rubbish arguments involve; “letting the game flow” and “ruining a match by bringing the cards out too early”. These lines are touted over and over again by the pundits, the media and the commentators and it just makes me wonder if the general public would still share these opinions, if they weren’t hammered into them constantly.

    That’s what makes it even worse for me. We know that Mark Clattenburg is a excellent referee, yet recently we have seem him involved in some of the most dubious and corrupt matches in the PL this year. Was he not one of the stand-out refs last season? Yet this season he has been absolutely appalling, which just so happens to coincide with getting the FA cup final and CL final. Hmmmm, whooda funk it??

  • Rich

    Menace, Andy Mack

    I was being sarcastic there. Lowest form of wit, I know, but sometimes you just got to do it.

    What makes it all extra sickening is that this is happening in the richest league in the world ever. So there’s obviously not the excuse of having to make do.

    Technically, of course, the FA provide the referees and they, I’m told, are strapped for cash.

    But it’s the same thing : if the FA are in charge of the refs until they get to pgmol’s gilded doors, and the FA are skint, the only conclusion can be that the premier league and a majority of its clubs are not concerned with training more referees or addressing the huge North/South imbalance.

    All of it’s a disgrace. There simply isn’t any good reason to keep the number of refs so low, let refs do so many games,etc. Meanwhile, structuring things so that a strapped for cash FA is in charge of training and bringing through referees might be the most suspicious part of the lot.

    It’s set up so that pgmol can never be blamed for not bringing through more or better refs, though they can exercise total control over who gets to and stays in their group; while the FA meanwhile could only throw their hands up, if anyone ever did press them on it, and say they are doing the best they can with their stretched resources. All while football here swims in obscene and unprecedented rivers of money.

    You can see why I went for the sarcasm, maybe, otherwise i was liable to go on and on like this. Aaaaargh.

  • Until this house of card’s is brought down there will never ever be an even playing field for not only Arsenal but for some other teams as well. What these men have gotten away with this season is nothing short of criminal. I hope for Arsenal’s sake that it happens sooner rather than later. It blatant and so in your face that it’s unbelievable. A great report and please keep them coming as it’s the only way if it is picked up by a journalist who has the guts to run with it and it’s lets them know that people are out there looking for justice.

  • Robert

    Rich, I don’t think the FA funds referees, or if they do it’s a small proportion. Per their public accounts statement, The PL funded refs to the tune of 3.5m in 2013, and I know the Football League also provided funding. I don’t have any more up-to-date info than that.

  • omgarsenal

    What a great article and based on my limited knowledge of statistics, it appears there is sufficient matter for concern about the PIGMOB’s utter inefficiency and questionable management practices.
    For some of you that don’t know, here are a few things referees need to succeed in officiating in a fair and firm manner;
    1)Continuous improvement assistance and assessments based on in-field performance and knowledge of the Laws as written by IFAB and FIFA, NOT Riley’s version,
    2)Support for physical conditioning, even during the season,
    3)Their referee’s association having their backs even when they make mistakes (which we all inevitably do) but NEVER covering up serious wrong-doing or illegal activity. Any good referee holds a cheating one in ultimate disdain and disregard.
    4) Avoidance of ANY favouritism, politics and in-fighting when it comes to their career. All referees want to be treated equally,regardless of where they come from and what their ¨pedigree¨ is. I fail to see the salience of North versus South, or Manchester versus London officials!
    5)The opportunity to do some ¨big¨ games in their career….even if they never progress beyond a certain level. There is NOTHING like walking onto the field with 70,000 spectators waiting for you to kick off!

  • norman14

    The way of the world is that now, it seems, the big TV companies, together with their affiliate betting companies, are responsible for the promotion of debate by this country’s football supporters.

    So we get some silly pair of know nothings on Channel PGMOB inviting paid guest, Dermot Gallagher, to go through the “most controversial” refereeing decisions of the season. No mention of Dean’s farcical display at Chelsea, no comment about the thuggery that went on between Chelsea and the Tinies; nothing about Arsenal’s non penalties, nothing except a bit about shirt pulling and whether Raheem Sterling meant to handle the ball or not!

    To top it all off, it was established that Mike Dean produces the most cards (tops in both reds and yellows) because he is the best referee and gets the most matches. Oh, and Gallagher “loves him to bits”. Nothing biased there then.

    Then the Channel PGMOB Presenter came up with a gem: “I’ve just learned something that is brand new for next season – Assistant Referee’s are going to be full time professionals, just like Referees are now”

    As a football supporter who likes to think I’m well informed, wasn’t this “brand new” development announced some time in March?

  • Micko

    @Norman
    “On another note, regarding PL referees: Why DID Mark Clattenburg officiate so much differently in the CL final, than he does in the EPL? ” – Yeah I was thinking that as well.

  • Rantetta

    Excellent, Jerry Thomas.