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Referee review : The report of the season 2012-2013

By Walter Broeckx

As you may know we have been doing referee reviews for a while now.  And just in case you don’t know may I add that it all started through people asking questions on Untold Arsenal after I revealed that I was a referee.

First there were questions about some incidents in some Arsenal games. And after a while I was asked me to do some kind of review of every Arsenal game. As there was a lot to discus in each game in fact.

People who were critical said that as an Arsenal supporting ref I was too biased to give my view. I always felt that I tried to be as impartial as could be, looking at the incidents from a neutral referee point of view.

Then came the next step to put in some kind of format that we could use for each game in order to count the wrong decisions at the end of the season. I then did this for all Arsenal games in one season.

People liked what they saw but they had to points to be critical about. One was my assumed Arsenal bias and the other was that even if they did agree that it looked as if Arsenal was not really treated fair by the refs we couldn’t compare it with other teams as they also could suffer from bad referee decisions.

So on to the next step. We set up a system where we would review as many games as we could do. And for the first time I got a little help from other referees. And so last year we reviewed around 40% of the PL games. And the outcome of all this can be found on this site.

The biggest point on which people were critical however this time was the fact that the three refs who had done the reviews all supported Arsenal.

And after thinking about it we started our very ambitious project.  The Referee Decisions website. It was born out of Untold Arsenal but we took the next step of distancing ourselves from being a pure Arsenal website. And we wanted to do it right. We wanted to cover each game in the PL and we wanted to attract as much referees from others team as possible.

As to how many games we covered I will talk in further articles. But I can tell you that we didn’t achieve our goal. But still we did cover much more games than the 40% of the season before.  But what we did achieve was that for the first time in our history we got refs on board who didn’t support Arsenal. So this big point of critique could be countered for the first time in our existence.

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So who were those refs we had and which team did they support? We will not give you the names in order to protect them from possible harm in their own referee career. But we can show you which team they support and show you that most refs didn’t support Arsenal at all.

So the first numbers we will give you is the teams that those referees supported.  And we had a total of 14 referee who have been helping us in the last season.













Aston Villa






No PL Club





And as you can see Arsenal had the biggest amount of referees. But I also must tell you that 2 of those refs dropped out rather quickly. It was my helpers who had been there from the very start who for personal reasons had to stop. I would like to thank them for the enormous amount of work they did over the last two years. And no better person than me to know what a hard job it is to review games.  And time consuming.

As you can see the other most supported teams were Liverpool and Tottenham with each two refs. We also had two refs who didn’t support a PL team but who supported teams from lower leagues. And then also a ref from Southampton, Aston Villa and Everton.

I would take this moment to thank all of them for their contribution on this.

Now where are all these guys from you might ask. Well this is also interesting and I can tell you that we had refs from all over the world.

Country Number
England 7
Europe 2
South America 1
Canada 2
Australia 1
Total 14


This was one thing I was particularly proud of. Being the leader of a group of referees from all over the world. It brought along some problems as when I was sleeping other were awake and it took sometimes a lot of time to communicate in a good way. But we overcame these problems and the project worked.

So I think these two tables show that the criticism we got for being too Arsenal orientated in our reviews were well countered and I think the fact that we got refs from all over the world involved showed that we had a good mix that would make sure that the laws were understood in a universal way.

So this is the first part of the Referee review of the season 2012-2013. Behind the scenes our computer specialist is working day and night to check the numbers, count them, count them again. And we hope that soon we will be able to present to you the numbers for each ref, the numbers for each team, the home/away bias and the relationship between the mistakes the refs made, and who benefited from these mistakes.

So stay with us in the next weeks. The reports will come online both here at Untold Arsenal and on the Referee Decisions website.  I hope you will enjoy it.

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6 comments to Referee review : The report of the season 2012-2013

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Keep up the good work ,Walter and you guys .It’s one hell of a task you’ve taken upon yourselves .Thank you .

  • nicky

    Can’t wait for the reviews during the coming season. They should show whether the absence of bully boy Ferguson has at least partially restored a semblance of honesty in officialdom.

  • Coutinho

    A project like this really need to happen and gain some exposure. Throughout the season poor decision and poor standards have plagued the league. Thanks for all yhe work you and you team have done.

  • Rufusstan

    As usual great work Walter, but we need to keep pushing it into public view so more and more people start asking the right questions.

  • rantetta

    Please keep up your great work, Walter & co.

  • *sigh* – I’m now just an “& co”…


    Things are going on behind the scenes – we are making our lists and checking them twice.

    Walter has also gone the extra mile in the data cleansing exercise in which I identified data that had issues.

    You better appreciate his (and the other refs) dedication to this, there are a staggering number of hours put into this research – around 28,000+ reviewed referee calls in all!