### 27 responses

1. WalterBroeckx
30/05/2016

Over to you Mike (Riley I mean)

2. Mark
30/05/2016

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.

3. WalterBroeckx
30/05/2016

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)

4. nicky
30/05/2016

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.

5. Gord
30/05/2016

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.

6. Gord
30/05/2016

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.

7. Rich
30/05/2016

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.

8. Andrew Crawshaw
30/05/2016

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.

9. para
30/05/2016

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.

30/05/2016

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)??

11. norman14
30/05/2016

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.

12. Menace
30/05/2016

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.

13. Jerry
30/05/2016

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.

14. Mandy Dodd
30/05/2016

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?

15. finsbury
30/05/2016

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.

16. Al
30/05/2016

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.

17. Brickfields Gunners
30/05/2016

Jerry , truly a great job – well done .

18. Andy Mack
30/05/2016

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.

19. Jammy J
30/05/2016

@ 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??

20. Gf60
30/05/2016

Jeff Winter is as uncomplimentary as we are!

http://www.jeffwinterentertainmentandmedia.co.uk/letters/2013000.php

21. Rich
30/05/2016

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.

22. Linda
30/05/2016

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.

23. Robert
30/05/2016

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.

24. omgarsenal
30/05/2016

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!

25. norman14
31/05/2016

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?

26. Micko
31/05/2016

@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.

27. Rantetta
31/05/2016

Excellent, Jerry Thomas.