Ref Review 2012-2013: Wrong PENALTY decisions, a closer look.

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.


On this site we have published all kinds of reports over the season 2012-2013.

We have dealt with the different teams. We have looked  closer at the refs themselves leading to the best ref election of the season according to the views and based on the numbers found by our referee reviewers.

We then had another look at the bias from the refs with each team.

The next step involves looking at the four most important decisions on the football field that could have the biggest impact on the final result of games.

We will examine the wrong decisions about second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals. And we will show which teams gained and how many times they gained but also which teams suffered and how many times they suffered. Of course when the ref makes a mistake there is always a team that benefits but there is also a team that gains from the wrong decision. So it is important to have a look at both sides of the coin.

And to round things up we will also show which refs made which teams suffer or gain from their wrong decisions.

So let us now have a look at the teams that were favoured by the ref his decisions to not award a penalty or to reward a wrong penalty. A penalty decision is one of the most important decisions of them all. And so should be correct. We know this wasn’t the case and far too many errors we have found when reviewing the games. Despite the PGMOL claiming high numbers of correct important decisions, we found other numbers.

For this table I added an extra information. I added the information so you can see if the wrong decision was a wrongly awarded penalty (indicated by the letter ‘W’ ) or a penalty that should have been given against the team but was ignored (indicated by the letter ‘I’ )

Penalty decisions Favoured team

And here we have a few results that might shock a few people. And I don’t just mean the possible supporters of Tottenham who see this but also Arsenal supporters might be surprised.

I know that Tottenham didn’t get a penalty all season last season. Because their supporters complained about it during our earlier commentaries. But what they never mentioned was that they also should have been given another 10 penalties against them all season but that they weren’t given by the refs.

But also Arsenal was rather lucky on a few occasions.  We could have had 4 more penalties given against us and we also had 3 penalties in our favour that were wrongly given.  So as an Arsenal supporter I don’t have any trouble admitting that we have been maybe lucky on a few occasions. But when we look at the other side of the medal later on this image may look a bit different.

Chelsea had the same number as Arsenal had in this table.  Manchester United was favoured 5 times in that aspect. Twice they ignored a penalty against them and there were three wrongly awarded penalties in their favour.

But teams also suffered from wrong decisions of course and this is something we can find in the next table.

penal decisions suffering

Everton is the biggest victim in this. 10 times they should have had a penalty but it was denied by the ref.

Arsenal is just behind Everton. Arsenal were denied sevenpenalties that should have been given and suffered from two wrongly given penalties against them.

The same number as Liverpool but in their case there were eight penalty calls ignored and one wrongly given against them.

And to talk about Tottenham we can admit that they should have had 5 penalties last season in their favour but they weren’t given.

And as we tell it as it is, we also should mention the fact that on 3 occasions Manchester United should have had a penalty but it wasn’t given by the ref.

You can look at the results of other teams if you want. But here we move on to the refs who made these mistakes and we will now see how many wrong penalty decisions they made and who was favoured and who suffered from their wrong decisions.

penalty decisions ref

We have a few refs with only 1 wrong decision and those refs are Friend, Clattenburg and Swarbrick.  The ref with the highest number of wrong decisions was Michael Oliver with 10 wrong penalty decisions. Not a great score if you ask me.

If we look at the numbers of Arsenal we see that Mason and Atkinson were mostly wrong against Arsenal with 2 not given penalties for Arsenal both.  The other wrong decisions were Arsenal suffered were evenly spread amongst the refs.

If we look at other teams and who was favoured by the wrong decisions we see that Michael Oliver had 4 penalty decisions going in favour of Tottenham last season. A high number I think. But also Chris Foy was rather generous for them with 3 favourable wrong decisions.  And talking about Chris Foy, the strange thing is that he dared to give 3 penalty decision against Manchester United that were wrong. The older you get the less fear you have maybe.

We also notice the rather high score from Norwich with the refs Jones and Taylor. That last one no real surprise any more for those who have been following us on a regular basis the last seasons.

In this series

Wrong second yellow cards

Wrong red card decisions

The earlier series of reviews:


One Reply to “Ref Review 2012-2013: Wrong PENALTY decisions, a closer look.”

  1. Hi Walter,

    Is that those numbers are from your reviewed matches. They do not cover all played games, right? If so, I think your statistic may not have much meaning, unless you normalize the number of decisions by the number of reviewed matches for each team.

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