By Laundry Ender
The problem with untold and moving things on
Credibility, that is the problem. At least it is as far as the assertion that there is a systemic bias in referees towards some teams, or players in the Premier League. And that the bias has an impact on the outcome of games, and subsequently the outcome of the competition.
Credibility because it is an Arsenal Blog, that has evolved into something much more. Untold Arsenal has become the online focal point where frustrations with consistent poor decisions, and difficult-to-explain refereeing performances are being critically and methodically analysed. Untold Arsenal is accumulating a database of refereeing performances, and logging verifiable bias. This is heavy shit!!!
But it lacks credibility. It lacks credibility not because the statistics gathered lack rigour. Nor because Walter’s referees reviews are unqualified. It lacks credibility because it is by Arsenal supporters for Arsenal supporters. The emphasis Untold has put on refereeing bias is fundamentally flawed by that single fact. We have a vested interest in proving a bias for obvious reasons, for we never protested when we were top. In Scotland Celtic feel the same, I am sure there are teams in every country that are slighted by what they see as institutional bias. It could though be considered part of the game, or just the feeling of despair that goes with decline.
Untold lacks credibility because it is Arsenal centric, therefore all too easy to discount. However we feel we have an argument, so how do we validate that argument? This is the challenge that Untold faces, rising to that challenge will take organisation and determination. I believe we have the determination; getting organised is the hurdle in our path.
Validating the argument
- A pool of qualified referees that are prepared to analysis the performance of a designated referee on Walters’s system.
- To move the analysis away from Arsenal games but across the entire EPL
- To have referees reviewing games of clubs that they do not support
- To have all the data from those reviews centrally located and the results independently audited
That is not a huge ask. When I ran this past Tony at the Auld Triangle, his response was “that it is a lot to ask.” However I told Walter that the “football community is enormous, and in context the numbers are small”.
If we accept that the above is all we need, it should be simple, but the above does contain snags. As I see it they are as follows
1. Recruiting referees
2. Validating those referees, their experience, and the teams they support
3. Access to videos of the games, and a method of replay and slow motion
4. Coordination of the pool of referees
5. Validating the referees reviews
If this is the snag list how do we overcome it
- Recruiting referees
Appeal online. We link into other blogs. Dogface’s data would be brilliant here in showing people that we are not the only ones. This is an organic approach, it would be open to abuse, require lots of monitoring, and to reach a scale that covers all games would take time.
Proactively recruit. I often employ referees to do games for me, through the local RA, or a network of refs I have on my phone, if they are free, they generally want to earn £30 – £40 pounds for doing middle. The problem with this proposal is the EARN bit, it would need funding. The question is can we fund it? I believe so, if we can prove ourselves trustworthy.
Here are some facts. The EPL comprises 380 matches, if we had 40 qualified and experienced referees on board they could be expected to review around 9.5 matches each. Were we to pay them a retainer, or a match fee of £20 per review, we would need funding of £7,600. The fact that we are approaching referees to give us impartial reviews would impart upon us a credibility of huge scale. For £7,600 we could approach referees from local county FA lists, or approach regional RA`s and ask them to do reviews using Walters Template. But how do we get Funding?
The football community is huge, and I am wiling to donate my bit, raising that sum is not difficult. Walter told me this site has 350,000 hits per month, divided by £7,600 is about 2.5p each, or we could seek some funding from the betting community, we could also find an interested benefactor, someone with a vested interest in our message, I am sure Tony would love to hear from any such person. Were we to go down this route we would need a treasurer and the accounts to be audited.
- Validating those referees, their experience, and the teams they support
This is an administrative process, and may be painstaking, and also involve an element of trust but only on teams supported. Refereeing qualifications are all certificated.
- Access to videos of the games, or a method of replay and slow motion
All of our refs would have to be able to access a video recording of the game that they have been allocated, I believe SKY plus makes this possible, however I am not a subscriber, so I may be wrong, suggestions on this would be appreciated.
- Coordination of the pool of referees
We need someone to administer the referees, and to hold the reviews in central database. The coordinator does not collate the data from those reviews. The coordinator must be prepared to spend time communicating with the referees and be flexible and be able to respond to changes in the programme, cancellations and referee unavailability.
- Validating the referees reviews
We need reviews that are done by qualified people, but we also need more that 1 review per match, 2 reviews allowing an average score from each review being what we present to the statisticians. This scenario changes the funding, it doubles the money required, but Christ does it give us some credibility, and that is the thing that Untold approach to the refereeing bias lacks
All I have written above are suggestions. I invite suggestion and criticism. The journey Untold went on when they started the referee’s reviews was an honest endeavour; with Dogface’s input it became something else. It could go in a direction long overdue to reveal the scale of bias that we perceive. It is something I have been longing for since Old Trafford and the invincibles.
The main point I think is that this whole venture is do-able. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, find the Higgs Boson, or send a man into Space. We are accumulating data that is evidenced and verifiable, lets roll the dice and let them fall where they will. Any takers for a positive and active contribution?
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