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Who’s the number one amongst the refs?

With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By Walter Broeckx

Do you want to know how the refs have done so far this season? Well I will try to give you some details including another graphic of the score each ref has got so far.

So we must remember that unlike in school where you just have to get 50% to be successful, football is more demanding. No if 50% were the measure for top refs we could put a real blind man in the middle of the pitch and the chance that he makes the correct decision would be around 50%.

No, top refs are refs that are trained, chosen and selected because they should be better than the average ref.

So for them a score of 70% is the minimum. It has to be something between 70 and 80% to speak of a ref that has a reasonable game. Not great just acceptable. Any score above 80% is very good. And a score above 90% is almost unbelievable. Then you can go home really satisfied with your game.

To just show you how difficult it is to score above 90% I can say that only 1 (one) ref managed to do this so far this season. And it was Phil Dowd in the game Liverpool – Sunderland. Almost no mistakes made in that game (just 4 wrong calls!) and getting all the major decisions correct. Last season if my memory serves me right we also had only one ref with a score above 90%. It was Mike Jones in that terrible home game against West Bromwich Albion which we lost 2-3. Sorry to bring that up again.

But who is our top ref this season?


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Well, well it is Phil Dowd. And yes I know that he gave two goals to Manchester United that were offside but this was down to his assistant who made a mess of things. But even then he managed to score above the 70% in total and in his other games he also got high scores.

Second best is Mike Jones with just under 80%. And also getting more than 70% are Dean, Mason, Marinner and Friend. So that is 6 refs that score high enough to keep on working in the PL.

The other refs like Atkinson, Halsey, Probert, Walton, Clattenburg and Atwell didn’t score well enough so far this season. And also world cup ref Webb didn’t manage to score above 70 %. He is close to it but not enough for the moment.  The scores are based on 34 reviews of 13 refs so far this season and the total average score of all the refs together is 70,09%. And this is in fact the minimum score for refs that they should have.

In fact having an average score of less than 70% is something that cannot just be blamed on the refs. No, it is the responsibility of those who select the refs. It is the responsibility of those who appoint the refs. It is the responsibility of the PGMOL.


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6 comments to Who’s the number one amongst the refs?

  • mark

    This shows what has been clear to the spectator for a long time, the refs in the EPL are not doing a good job of getting the decisions right. This also shows that more technology ought to be used to get the decisions right. I think if there was video replay for penalty calls then the refs would have more courage to call a penalty. They would know that it would get reviewed and if it was clearly not a penalty then it would be a free kick for the other team. Refs lack the courage to call penalties because it has such a big influence on the outcome of the game. But this gives the defending team a big advantage as they can foul in the box and get away with it more often than not. Video replay would also cut out diving because that would be caught.

    This would also help the spectators know the game is fair and not being manipulated in some way.

  • Arsenal1Again

    When I was at school 70% was a pass.

    70%-74% =C

    75%-79% =C+

    80%-84% -B

    85%-89% =B+

    90%-94% -A

    Because of the small amount of games played and because the same teams have not been refereed by all the referees … it’s hard to understand the point you’re trying to make here Walter. Refereeing a game like Bolton Vs Stoke is going to factor many things you’ll not see with Arsenal Vs Man Utd.

    In slugger matches like the former, you’ll see fouls on Kevin Davies overlooked because they cancel out, or balance out the fouls committed by the Kevin Davies himself. If a ref did everything by the book, consistently. Most of the teams would have at least 5 players with a 1 match ban at any given time.
    This is how I see it. Sorry.

    95-99% =A+

    I wonder what 100% is? Perhaps am A++

  • Cyberian

    Is there a way for you to post a data file along with an article like this one? For example, a spreadsheet would allow readers to explore some alternatives formats.

  • Gooner Gal

    What, Howard Webb MBE (for his services to football) isn’t top of the charts???

    In all seriousness, I think that had we of had Dowd ref more of our games thus far, he would not be top right now.

  • walter

    The score of Dowd is based on 4 games so far. I will check out his score from last season (only Arsenal games) and how many games he had. But I have done one of those games and I must admit like our ref reviewer after the Bolton-MC game, I was amazed by how he did that game (Tottenham- MC it was in fact)

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Arsenal1again…..An arbitrary and unscientific assessment system like those used in schools and with referees have two basic failings:

    1)They are not standardized therefore are not statistically useful or significant. Its the old ¨my mother told me its so so it must be true¨ thinking.
    2)There are too many factors (as you rightly point out) that prevent consistent and accurate measurements of decision-making and application of the Laws.

    An official must balance the written rules against the spirit of the law…a perfect example is the recognition and awarding of ¨advantage¨ to a team that was fouled but could conceivably score. It is the hardest skill in officiating and so rarely seen that when it is it is highly appreciated.

    Walter is not trying to do the impossible but rather he is trying to establish a baseline, using multiple reviewers and a standardized ranking system based on actual events. This is an excellent approach to creating an assessment that is reliable and actually says something about what is happening, on the field with the officials.

    No official lasts very long if he or she does everything ¨by the book¨ as you say. Officiating is an art, not a science and depends on excellent intuitive positioning, rapid and accurate judgement, courage and calmness under fire, having a very thick skin, maintaining a preoccupation with fair play and the players’ safety and enjoyment, being deaf to things off the field, physical fitness and tolerance of pressure and so on.

    How do we measure a referee’s knowledge of the Laws; by testing him or her both on and off the field on a regular basis. How do we know an official has the ¨right stuff¨ as the Yanks like to say. By assessing their performances every game and watching to see if they correct their errors and improve the above mentioned skills every game. We all have a bad game once in awhile but great officials have a very high level of consistently good games, all the time.