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August 2021

Referee Review 2012/13: how did the refs do when Swansea City played?

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. You can find links to earlier articles on the bottom of this article.


In this part of the series we have a look at each team and see how the bias panned out for each team. This is based on the decisions themselves without putting any weight on each decision. A total table will be published at the end of this and then you can compare each team with the other teams.

And it will be an interesting table I can assure you of that.

First we are providing a table for each team highlighting each type of decision. This gives the totals as for when the team in the article got a favourable decision and when they got it against them.

If the traditional mantra, “it all evens out at the end of the season” is true it should show in these statistics – and indeed for some clubs we have already reviewed, that is the case.

But as I said, in the table we just show the decisions as a decision and we didn’t put any weight on the decisions. That is something for later on. Now we just take each decision at the same value, which is of course not saying all because a wrong penalty call is a bit more important than a wrong throw in decision.

But now let us move to the fourth team in our survey:  Swansea.

Last season we were able to do 13 games of Swansea and that is 34,21% of their total games in the PL.   Not that high a number so we have to be a bit more careful with the numbers we have – but still way above the normal sampling level that is used in this sort of research. But we will treat the numbers as if they are more or less valid for the 38 games. But we do of course keep in mind that we have to look at them with care.

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In the second column we see the type of decision. And in the column headed “favoured” we see how many decisions favoured Tottenham when we reviewed them. And in the column headed “Penalised” we see how many times a wrong decision went against them.  The total swing is the difference between the favoured decisions and the penalised decisions.

A negative number in this column means that the total was against the team and a positive number means that the total decisions was in their favour.

In the last column we see the average swing per game based on the games we reviewed. And this gives an indication on how many decisions went against a team or were in favour of a team. The lower the number the lower number of decisions that were wrong. And a positive number indicates that in each game they get some decisions in their favour and a negative indicates how many decisions the team has to overcome.

In the games we did when Swansea were playing we see that the majority of wrong decisions went against Swansea. 22 decisions in 13 games is more than one per game.

But there are a few decisions that show no bias. This are the decisions about goal kicks and offside – and also the penalty decisions.  And that is a more important type of decision.

But all the other decisions apart from throw ins show a negative bias against Swansea. In fact the bias in total is that Swansea faced almost two decisions going against them in each game they played. As this is an average number and I know that there also have been games when things went in favour of Swansea it could be that in the games it really went against them this number of 2 decisions will have been higher. If not much higher.

Swansea certainly was not the referee-favourite this season. Contrary to 2011-12 if I remember correct.

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10 comments to Referee Review 2012/13: how did the refs do when Swansea City played?

  • John

    Walter sorry not related to ref review if you havent look at this chap website please do ….excellent financial analysis of football clubs most article the recent on Arsenal. Always very well written/research pieces like your site


  • I think the Swans realize that Ref’s are just as human as anyone else and are susceptible to making errors as we all are and they will simply get on with it. One observation would be, what can you say about the clear goal scored by the Swans at WBA in the final minute which would have given them a point? You can’t say that was a mistake can you because linesmen and ref’s are trained to go given tasks under certain pressure right? How can you say it was a deliberate bad decision without being able to prove it? Perhaps appeals via a TV ref could be sort to clarify such questionable decisions?! Fair play isn’t the name of game when such decisions go against teams who were robbed of a point or three.

  • Mick

    Thanks for that link, it is very informative.

  • Pat

    This is very interesting Walter.

    I wonder what could cause such a change in referee bias from one season to the next. Were Swansea no longer the new boys, but now part of the competition? Was their attractive football not what was wanted? I’m only speculating.

  • Is there an overall league table of refs and decisions by club?

    Would be interested to see both dimensions…

  • WalterBroeckx

    that table will come later in the series

  • WalterBroeckx

    if it was a deliberate mistake (I remember it well and I must say I was shocked at the time as I was watching he game live) we don’t know of course. We can only hope it was an honest mistake.

    This was a case that could have been rectified by the 4th ref in a matter of a second. This is what we have been asking for since a few seasons.

  • Swan

    When it says ‘incorrect call – penalty’ then favoured 1, does that mean that a pen should have gone against us but didnt or that we got awarded a pen we shouldnt have? Because if i remember correctly, we didnt have 1 penalty all season in the prem last year. Quite shocking really.

  • Swan

    Yes – from the incorrect calls recorded in the games reviewed; you should have been awarded one penalty and you should have conceded one penalty.

  • WalterBroeckx

    in that case you should have gotten at least one penalty (in the games we reviewed) and God knows what else in the games we couldn’t review….