By Walter Broeckx
Sometimes one wonders when enough is enough. Now before you might think that I will start complaining about the refs we had in Arsenal games I just want you to tell that in fact this is not the case in this article. Because at this moment in time we have done 60 ref reviews of games in the EPL this season. And the majority are NOT Arsenal games. In fact only 26 % of the games we have reviewed so far are Arsenal games.
Is 60 games enough to draw conclusions? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I thought it was a good moment to have a look at it and most of all look at the whole picture. And thus ask ourselves the question: is the level of refereeing high enough?
The only way to find out would be if the PGMOL made their reviews public. But as they don’t we had to do it our way. Of course if the PGMOL would disagree on this they can always come out with their evidence. Somehow I doubt they will come out in the open. And if they did, now wouldn’t that be fun?
So before I show you the graphic of the how many correct decisions refs make in the EPL I will take the time to give some more information on how we came to our numbers and this is for the people who are new to this site.
We have 4 ref reviewers who review as many games as they can. We look at every incident in the games we review and see if the ref made a correct decision or not. We then put this in some kind of spreadsheet that calculates the totals of the ref in that game. And those totals are then used to calculate what you are about to see.
We look at the overall decisions like a foul in midfield which is worth one point. We then take in account some weight because some decisions are more important than others. Yellow cards, red cards, goals, penalties. And we look at the offside decisions.
And from all those scores we make a total average score or each game and that score is also for the graphic I will show you. So here it is with nu further delay, the total % of correct decisions in the EPL in the season 2011-2012:
Yellow cards are shown at random it looks. Half of the decisions are correct. And this means that many cards were not correct but also that many cards should have been given but have not been given for one reason. Don’t know about you but this is poor. 50% correct decisions for top refs in the EPL is way below the required standard in my book. Refs should at least get a score of 70%.
But things could get worse with the red cards. Only 1 red card in 5 is correct. Many are not shown and those that are shown are also wrong on occasion. The sending off in the Everton-Liverpool game comes to my mind as a not correct red card.
And if we look at the penalties one could say that the situation again is not very rosy. Not even 60% of penalties are correctly given or not given. And this is what we could call a game changing situation. A really terrible number.
One could say that the goals are rather good. In the games we reviewed we could say that 86.93% of the goals are correctly given or ruled out. But this is not enough. Because if you know that in every game day of the EPL there are around 29 goals scored and this means that 4 of them are wrongly given or ruled out. 4 goals each game day in the EPL. And if you know that goals is what football is all about this is a terrible number.
The other decisions which include recognising important fouls when you have to give yellow or red cards is a miserable 65 %. So again poor judgement from the refs is obvious to see.
And this leads to an overall score of all those important decisions of 65%. Only 65 % of the really important decisions are correct in the EPL. A few words spring to my mind when seeing this: disgrace, unacceptable,…
If we look at the offside decisions who are not that unimportant as they sometimes lead to goal scoring chances we can see that around 91% of the decisions are correct. But one miss can be the difference between winning or losing a game (or a draw). So again very important that we get it right.
And if we take all those decisions (including the offside decisions) we manage to get an average score of just above 70%. The minimum. The absolute minimum.
Now you could say that well I don’t mind that I go to a game and the refs get it all wrong. It’s a day away from my wife [I think that is a sexist comment Walter – a yellow card for that one… Tony] and I’m not that bothered by the final result. Okay, fine that is good for you. But I really do think that most football supporters would like to go to a game and when the final whistle is blown they know that the goals were correct, that the penalties were correct awarded or not.
I really hate to travel for hours to London and then during the game getting a text from a friend that stayed at home telling me the ref got it terribly wrong. This takes away a lot of my pleasure. Like one of our travelling companions once said after the ref screwed us over in a game: “I don’t think I will spend my money any more on going to a game only to find out that the refs get it wrong. I don’t get up at 6 am and come home the next day at 3 am in the knowledge that I have witnessed an injustice or a farce”.
So something must be done about it. The FA has decided to implement goal line technology and Fifa also said this would exist in the next world cup. Fine, very fine. I applaud this decision. A standing ovation should be given.
But please FA, FIFA or UEFA don’t stop there. Take the step to making football a sport where the spectator can go home satisfied in the knowledge that the decisions of the refs on the field were correct. We pay the money to see football. We are the customers of the product “football”. I know people who have stopped watching the game because they are fed up with the wrong decisions. So act and go further and do what is required.
Get the refs the needed assistance. Let them use video images to decide if a goal was correct or not. Let each penalty be checked by the video evidence. This will take no longer than we now lose time by attacking the ref when a penalty is given. This will take no longer than we now lose time when the players celebrate a goal.
We pay a lot of money to see football, so I think we are entitled to know that what we pay for is done in the most possible fair way and know that the refs on the field can be corrected if they get it wrong. Because refs can make honest mistakes. But if you don’t do everything to avoid that the smell of something else enters my nose. And that is a smell I really don’t like at all.
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