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August 2021

Ref review 2012/13: Mark Clattenburg – good on red poor on yellow

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.



For the next ref in our series we have ref Mark Clattenburg.  Ref Clattenburg has been in the PL since 2004 and is a FIFA ref since 2006 and he is still only 38 years old.  So we will be seeing him around for a few more years.

He is a well respected ref most of the time and maybe I can remind you of the fact that he was the ref of the season 2011-2012 based on the numbers from our referee reviews of that season.

In the season just behind us ref Mason did 21 games in the PL and we reviewed 12 of his games. That is 57.14% of his games we have been able to cover. So high enough to draw some conclusions on this ref.  So how did he do when we look at all the decisions? And could he be again the ref of the season this time? Let us try to find out.

M Clattenburg all

In the 12 games we reviewed we have seen that Clattenburg had to make 1910 decisions in total. And according to our referee panel he had 1661 correct decisions. That is 86.96% correct decisions.  I can tell you and those who have followed us know that this isn’t the best score of the refs so far. We have seen worse but also better.

Of course by now you know that judging them as correct is not the same as being correct completely. When we can’t judge a call or when we are not 100% sure he made a mistake we call the decision correct. But it might be that if we had seen other angles we might have seen an incorrect decision.  So in general the numbers could be even flattering the refs but this goes for all the refs and not the refs we are looking at today.

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Let us have a look  at his important decisions.

M Clattenburg imp

He had to make 887 important decisions and he had 673 of them marked as correct and this is a score of 75,87%.  This is almost the same as last year but as thanks to the new system most refs had a better score it shows that he didn’t have the best year in his career.

But still some great numbers there. The red cards decisions was spot on. But his yellow cards decisions were not really that good and certainly his second yellow cards were bad.

If we look at the foul/free kick decisions we see that his numbers are just below 80%. I think Clattenburg should have a score of at least 80%. So even though this is not bad compared to other buts I think for Clattenburg the bar is raised a bit higher (being the ref of the season 2011/2012 brings some expectancy) and so it us below par.

But what is great is that his score of penalties are better than his general foul score. He had 80% of his penalty decisions correct so that is a great number.

The goal decisions are a bit mixed. Around 90% correct is not what I want to see. Many other ref gets the same score but I think the goal decisions should have a score closer to 100% than to 90%.

I remember from the season before the last that one of the strong points of Clattenburg was low bias scores for the teams involved in general. Could he repeat that trick last season? Let us take a look at the bias numbers.

M Clattenburg bias

If we look at the 14 teams involved in the games with Clattenburg we see that if we are generous we could say that 8 of them get a low bias score.  I refer to Norwich, Chelsea, West Ham United, QPR, Tottenham, Stoke,  Manchester City and Manchester United.  But we do have a few teams with a big bias in favour. Aston Villa, Fulham were two of them. And if you look at Swansea…they sure had some big things going their way it seems.

On the other hand we see that two teams were treated rather badly when he made mistakes. Southampton and Arsenal were those teams.  Some very uncharacteristic numbers if we look back at the seasons before for Clattenburg.


So it looks that he didn’t have a really great season. Some will remember the outburst after the Chelsea-Manchester United game when he was accused of all kinds of things. I do have the impression that he suffered from this also later on when he came back after a short rest.

I noticed a slight hesitancy at times that I didn’t noticed before. A ref with doubt in his mind because of the allegations? It somehow showed in his numbers I think. And a ref with doubt is usually a bad ref.

A ref that has proven he can do better so it is all more disappointing to see such a score from him.


5 comments to Ref review 2012/13: Mark Clattenburg – good on red poor on yellow

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting, I always had him down as one of the better refs. Shame he seems to have taken the incident out on us more than Chelsea!
    Hope he gets back to what he was and we know he can be as a ref

  • marcus

    I noticed that this is part of the PGMOL’s remit:

    11. Media
    We’ve expanded this greatly in recent years and work closely with Premier League rights holders to give guidance on Law and former Select Group referees like Dermot Gallagher and Alan Wiley regularly appear on Sky and BBC to explain decision-making. We also hold briefings with journalists on Law because when decisions made in a match can be such a large part of their work it’s incredibly important they understand so they’re calling things appropriately for viewers and readers.

    With almost a million visits a month, this site is quite a serious media outlet these days….. perhaps Tony should contact Riley and ask him if Dermot Gallacher would like to debate with the ref team here

  • Mahdain

    Disappointing numbers for Clattenburg. I have always thought of him as the best ref in the PL and tbh i really didnt expect us to be top of his negative bias table. Has he joined the dark side or was he affected by the incident as you said? Time will tell will be keeping a close watch on him this season.

  • Mahdain

    btw Walter if Arsenal arent the most hurt team by Mike Dean i might ask for a recheck of all his decisions lol 😛

  • WalterBroeckx

    stay in touch over the next days 😉 And maybe after rotational fouling we will see another new word from Untold making its way in to football expressions. ‘Rotational bias’ is the expression. 😉