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August 2021

REF REVIEW 2012: Team by Team : Swansea City and near perfect refereeing

By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

We move on in our team reviews and next we get one of the new teams. Swansea City the only Welsh team in the highest division of English football.

As a newcomer they ended on a very respectable 11th place.  So I think the people from Swansea will be very satisfied with the team performances. But how was the performances of the referees in the Swansea games? Will they also lead to some satisfaction? We will try to shed a light on that in this review.

Untold Vs PGMOL - SwanseaCity 2011/2012

We managed to review 8 games of Swansea and this represents 21,05% of the total games played last season. We could agree if you said this is not enough, because we would have loved to do more games. But as we didn’t have more games that have been shown live on TV it was all we could do. And the little fact that our team of referee reviewers could not do more games because we could use a few more helping hands.

So if you are a qualified referee and want to help us: just get in touch and join our team for next season. Let us see how the refs did in those games.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - SwanseaCity 2011/2012

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And with still the bad memory of our previous report in mind it is difficult to keep my feet on the ground. From the utterly depths of despair surrounding the Stoke City numbers we go to referee dreamland in this report.

In the Swansea games the ref made a very good score of more than 81% correct calls. This is just under 10% better than the league average. After yesterday’s depressing numbers this is what the doctor ordered. And if we put weight on to it we can see that the % of correct decisions is almost the same. And this means that in the Swansea games the refs have done 10% better than compared to the league average.

SO IT CAN BE DONE!!! In fact this is at least how it should be done for the whole league! So the refs can do it. Let us have a look at the decisions to see how which type of decisions was better than the league average.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - SwanseaCity 2011/2012

The goal decisions are coming close to what it should be. Almost 4% higher than the league average so Swansea City games was blessed with some good decisions when the goals were scored. Only 1 wrong decision.  We demand more of course and a score of 99% should be the ultimate goal but after yesterday I would take this for the whole league in an instant.

The offside decisions are very much in line with the league average, a bit better but not by much.

In the other decisions we see that they have a score higher than 81%. So that is very well done by the refs. Everything can improve but this is a nice start.More than 9% better than the league average.

Also the penalty decisions are much better (+17%) than what was the league average.

And look at the red cards! 45% better than the league average. Still not good in total but this is very well compared to the rest. A remark is that Swansea play a game of possession and keeping the ball in the team and on the ground. And as a result you seem to get not a lot of red cards in their games.  In fact you had very few fouls in total in their games.

And also the yellow cards handed out are almost 8% better than the league average. Well done referees!

So few mistakes, but how was it divided? Let us check this in the next graphic.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - SwanseaCity 2011/2012

If we look at the unweighted numbers first, as you might remember the normal negative away bias a team meets is -1.826 and Swansea getting a negative away bias from -1.750 is as close to normal as you can get.

The normal positive home bias is +1.826 and Swansea got a score of 3.000. So there is a slightly higher than normal home bias in their favour.  And this leads in the unweighted score to a small total bias in their favour. Now let us put some weight in to the decisions.

The normal negative away bias in the league was -2.619 and for Swansea this was -2.500. So almost normal.

The normal positive home bias in the league was + 2.619 and for Swanseay this was +2.500. So again as close to normal as it can get.

And the final result is again starting to make me drool over these numbers. Because if we put weight on the decisions we see that the final score in total is 0 (zero).

So looking at that number I can say that if we look at Swansea City (and just at their numbers alone) : IT EVENS OUT!!!

So let us check the referees who are responsible for these numbers.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - SwanseaCity (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

From the 7 refs in total who did their game there are two refs that step out of line one could say. Chris Foy with a very negative score, and Michael Oliver with a very positive score. The 5 other refs are very close to the zero score one could say. 5 of them having a positive bias and this is normal if we look at the unweighted final score in the previous graphic. But this is all rather marginal.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - SwanseaCity (Weighted) 2011/2012

However if we put weight on the decisions we see that now 3 refs had a negative bias against Swansea. But apart from Foy who had a bad score it is rather close. The only one with again a rather out of line positive bias is Michael Oliver.  But they almost cancel themselves out a bit and so we get the magical zero score in bias at the end of the season in the games we reviewed.

PGMOL Vs SwanseaCity - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - SwanseaCity (Weighted) 2011/2012

Can we see some individual scores reflected in the points? Well the first game they got more going against them and lost. But as there is no big decisions going against them it doesn’t seem to have affected the final score.

In game 21 they had some decisions going their was and won 3 points. In game 28 they  had some things going against them  but could win. In game 37 they didn’t have much in their favour and dropped points.

So maybe they had a small benefit left or right along the way but it all seems very respectable.



This is an example on how it should be. The refs in these games have shown that they can produce good games and acceptable scores. The overall score was good, the different type of decisions were good. So the refs can do it. It just seems to be problem to do it on a constant basis.

There was a very small bias in favour but it all was so close to the league average that it stayed well in line. A remark I must make is that the home/away bias should not exist in a perfect world.

If we look at this team alone we could say that it can even out for a team. The big question we should raise now is : why doesn’t it happen to the rest of the teams ? If it can be done for this team, why not for the others?

Some game reviews:

Manchester United – Swansea
Swansea – Manchester City
Swansea – Newcastle
Swansea – Chelsea
Chelsea – Swansea
Arsenal – Swansea
Manchester City – Swansea
Swansea – Arsenal

Editorial Footnote: Occasionally readers wish to make the point that our figures or methods are themselves fixed or biased.  If you have such a view and wish to argue that point please do take a look at our article on data and conclusions first.

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13 comments to REF REVIEW 2012: Team by Team : Swansea City and near perfect refereeing

  • WalterBroeckx

    We have had people from some teams coming over, looking at our findings, don’t like the outcome of our numbers and then come out saying: Are you not over the fact we defeated you. I tried not to react to that argument at the time. Even if I knew I could show the opposite. But now is the time.

    For those who still follow us and who made such comment: Swansea beat us this season. And yet we manage to come up with this report of referee dreamland.

    Maybe some people should look for a mirror and have a look at themselves. Maybe it is not our ref reviewers who want to take some kind of revenge for Arsenal losing a game. No it is just maybe you that cannot handle that some numbers show something you don’t like.

    Rant over.

  • Bring on the Swansea fans – I hope they are not as angry as the QPR lot and a little less ‘cro-magnon’ than the Stoke fans.

  • Stuart

    Can I be an honorary Swansea fan?

    Great stuff, good work, I like the numbers!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Probably we are “not biased enough” 😉

  • Matt Clarke

    And it is good to see that, although (statistically) a small population (or reviewed matches), these games were against similar opposition to other small population studies (as these are the games that get televised).

  • El Gringo

    Funny how no one is moaning about the results when they’re desirable! My prediction about comments on further reports:

    Negative bias: “You’re right! My team suffered every match!”
    Evens out: *Silence*
    Positive bias: “Your results are crocked! The sample was too small! Your reviewers are biased! You’re a @#$?!!”

    But when the Arsenal report comes out: “Your results are crocked! The sample was too small! Your reviewers are biased! You’re a @#$?!!”

    Keep up the good work, Walter & Co! It’s a valuable job you’re doing for all us fans, regardless of loyalty.

  • Gf60

    Let’s face it Walter, Re Swansea away….Mike Oliver needs no bias when he refs us. I think it’s 4 games and 1 win / 3 losses. But he’s one of the best in the PL and has never shown any bias at all…and you’ve/the panel has rated him as such.

  • Todd

    This are extremely impressive guys. Good work!.

    I had a thought and a request though. Can you group the referees based on region, then show the scoring relative to ref region per team? I know you did the overall regional comparison, which was great. What I’m thinking though is that instead of looking at individual referee performance, these evaluations are really looking at the standard of refereeing and potential bias. So rather than looking at the individual referees, can we see if referee’s from certain regions are more biased?

  • LRV

    I am amazed there are no vitriolics today. Swansea fans; where art thou?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’m not sure if Dogface can get such numbers out of his database as it may need some extra lines to be added on…
    But I leave that to the wisdom of the master of the keyboard…and the database 😉

    But it sure is an interesting thought

  • Stevie E

    Unfortunately, broadband doesn’t quite reach Swansea. It gets about 2 miles west of Cardiff then slowly but surely fades to dial-up. Don’t worry, they be along, just much much later 😉

  • @Walter – yeah easy, the reports are set up to do that… considered it but maybe for a later anlysis.