The facts and figures that show there is something seriously odd going on with refereeing

This article is based on the numbers that has been given by Vince. So credit must go to him for researching this. Some of the text has been edited by the Untold team to make this an article as it has been taken from the comment section but this deserved more than just a comment.

By Vince

Mike Riley have been appointed at the head of the PGMOB in 2009. Since then, 9 clubs played every season of PL : Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Stoke, Sunderland and Tottenham.

Let’s see some referring statistics between those 9 clubs in the Riley era…

Penalties given
1 City 58
2 Chelsea 56
3 Liverpool 48
4 United 44
5 Sunderland, Tottenham 38
7 Arsenal, Everton 36
9 Stoke 33

Arsenal is probably the team that spend the most time in the opponent box, yet only Stoke were given less penalties. On the other hand, Chelsea and City are awarded approximately 60% more penalties than the Gunners.

Goals scored/Penalties given ratio
1 Sunderland 8.50
2 Stoke 9.48
3 Chelsea 10.11
4 City 10.26
5 Liverpool 10.54
6 Everton 11.78
7 United 12.43
8 Tottenham 12.68
9 Arsenal 15.47

The better a team is offensively, the higher should be its penalty count. For example, it is logical to see City with more penalties than Sunderland or Stoke. However using this goal/penalties ratio, every team should have similar result regardless of the team level.
What a surprise, the numbers shows that referees are a lot more reluctant to give penalties to Arsenal, compared to others teams…

Penalties conceded
1 Chelsea, City, United 24
4 Everton 30
5 Liverpool, Tottenham 35
7 Sunderland 39
8 Arsenal, Stoke 42

Arsenal has the highest number of penalties conceded (tied with Stoke), 75% more than Chelsea and the 2 Manchester… Another quick remark, Arsenal actually conceded 6 more penalties than they were awarded : the only team of the Top 6 (or even Top 7 if you add Everton) with a negative balance. Compared to City with a +34 balance, that is 40 penalties deficit. 40 PENALTIES! And then people talk about big team bias from the referees. Well based on this we are not a big team…

Goals conceded/penalties conceded
1 City 11.88
2 Chelsea 11.63
3 United 11.54
4 Everton 11.50
5 Sunderland 11.00
6 Liverpool 9.71
7 Tottenham 9.40
8 Stoke 9.10
9 Arsenal 7.40

Funny, the same referees that are so reluctant to give penalties to Arsenal, are giving penalties against Arsenal more easily than any other team. If you compare those ratios with those about penalties given above, you can see every team has pretty similar ratios. All except Arsenal who actually has a more 2-to-1 difference…

Red card received
1 Tottenham 16
2 United 19
3 Everton, Liverpool 21
5 City 22
6 Stoke 24
7 Chelsea 25
8 Arsenal 28
9 Sunderland 39

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would classify Arsenal as a dirty team (they more likely would talk about the Gunners lack of aggressivity…), yet except Sunderland, no team receive more red cards. Yes even Stoke has fewer red cards. Quite funny too to see Tottenham and United at the top of this table. You know, the 2 teams that gets away nearly every week with nasty challenges. Actually it’s been close to 2 years since a Spurs got a red card…

Yellow cards/Red cards ratio
1 Tottenham 29.00
2 United 24.42
3 City 22.64
4 Stoke 21.83
5 Everton, Liverpool 21.24
7 Chelsea 19.20
8 Arsenal 15.57
9 Sundeland 13.87

This ratio too should be similar for every team. Obviously that is not the case at all. How many times have we seen referees give a second yellow card to an Arsenal player at the first occasion, while allowing opponents 5 or more fouls. When I see that table, I can’t help but think about the sending off of Coquelin last year in the NLD, when Lamela and Dier stayed on the field despite more clearer second yellow offenses…

If, seeing all these statistics, some people want to deny the corruption that is happening right now in the Premier League, and the fact that for years, Arsenal has been robbed by referees, well there’s none so blind as those who will not see.

Some people might say: “that is more to do with poor tackling and trying to play our way out defence rather than any other reason”

So basically they are implying that the reason why Arsenal gets so few decisions their way, is that the players have lesser quality than those of the other teams.

They should explain me something then :

1: If our players are so bad, why Arsenal finish every single season inside the top 4?

2: If the 75% difference (compared to City, Chelsea and United) in penalties conceded is due to poorer defenders, why doesn’t it translate in the same 75% (or close) difference in goals conceded. Arsenal conceded 311 goals in that period, the best defense (United) 277. That’s a 12% difference, not even close to 75% right? And keep in mind that United conceded 18 less penalties, so that is only a 16 non-penalty goal difference over nearly 300 matchs…

3: Why in any category I presented, our stats are BY MILES worse than any other top6 teams, and often in the same range than Stoke/Sunderland

Another remark that has been made is: ”Arsenal’s style of play where they commit so many players to advanced position leaves them wide open to the counter and retreating players tend to be a little reckless in their tackling”

Same remark than above, if that is the reason, why does it translate only in term of penalties conceded, and not in term of goals conceded.

And this is another remark one hears: “As for not getting so many penalties you play the bulk of your possession in front of the opposition last defensive line and outside the penalty area”

Again an intriguing argument. I don’t have the exact stats, but I am pretty sure that Arsenal score very few goals from outside the box (actually when Xhaka scored two goals from long range shoot, it was considered a big change from Arsenal…). So they spent a lot of time and score a lot of goals from inside the box. Surely that should also translate in term of penalties awarded, not 60% less than Chelsea or City. We even have the right back (Bellerin) who has the most touches of any defender in the opposition penalty area. So it seems that we are spending a lot of time in the oppositions penalty area.

And when that killer ball, that Arsenal waited so long to create the perfect opportunity, is played, then most of time defenders would be caught out, and forced to try a desperate intervention, that often would translate into the foul and so a penalty…

PS: It is interesting to note the penalties when you click under the penalties link (links below):

You can find detailed stats for every season

PPS : Arsenal received 4 penalties in the first 4 WEEKS of the season (Aug 14 – Sep 17, 2016), and then have not received a penalty call in their favour for 4 MONTHS (22-Jan-17)! Very strange, but apparently normal to the FA, media, PGMO!

53 Replies to “The facts and figures that show there is something seriously odd going on with refereeing”

  1. Quite astonishing, and it’s hard for anyone to not admit there’s an obvious bias here. For me, I can see bias in the Ref’s body language most of the time, not every referee but a fair amount of them. The way he speaks to our players, speaks to the manager, ignores small fouls. Body language can tell you a lot about a persons true intentions, even if they’re telling you otherwise. My wife was a fan of The Arsenal before I was and she always complained of a league-wide agenda against Arsenal, and I’d roll my eyes (internally of course, she has quite the sharp tongue) and think she was just being a fan. But these statistics, and my own eyes have me now convinced. Years of seeing rules applied to our team ,not being applied in the same fashion for other teams. And again, back to the body language, why do we fear certain referees like the plague? Because we can see it with our eyes.

  2. Lets hope the ref boss is reading this article now.
    I don’t know if Riley is still the boss but most fans don’t trust him or any other guy in black.
    Btw,please do stats to show why MU have found it difficult to win the epl since rf left. It will make interesting reading.
    As I have said after dominating the epl,rf wanted to dominate the cl .Why did he fail?The stats will tell us the true picture.

  3. I have been trying to work out who are the likely instigators of bias in EPL and the only group that I think that can most benefit are shady underworld types involved in betting syndicates who often try to influence the outcome of games worldwide. The few prosecuted cases show that the agent of choice is usually the keeper and, surprise, surprise, referees. In La Liga there has been a spate of goals not given for so called big teams. The final outcomes are usually a shockers of poor refereeing. Again I cannot think of any reason why there should be such ‘errors’. The lack of oversight and accountability is indeed a worry to our players. There some games in which I have noticed Arsenal players such as Kos and Coq obviously pulling out of 50-50 challenges late in tight games where we are one ahead. Maybe they have already noticed the pattern. I just can’t believe the bias can be so obvious and blatant as the stats in the article show.

  4. This is a brilliant article. Well done Vince on all your hard work collating these statistics, and well done Untold for realising the significance of what this actually says about the way we are Refereed.

    Lets get this said strait away. These are facts. Not opinion. These are cold, hard, facts.

    But even though these are facts, it is true to say that behind every individual award of a penalty or non penalty, red card, or non red card, is a ‘subjective’ decision by the referee.

    So despite the cold hard facts, ‘subjectivity’ does enter into the equation, and is indeed the key to how the referees get away with screwing us over, week, after week, after week. But the question is, why is ‘subjectively’ so important, and why do referees treat Arsenal ‘subjectively’ so differently to how they ‘subjectively’ treat Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea etc etc. ?

    Lets have a look at, firstly, HOW they get away with it, and then secondly, WHY.

    Here’s the thing, I reckon if you looked at every penalty Arsenal have conceded over this 9 year period, yes every one, to a greater or lesser degree each one could of been given? Because that’s the nature of these incidents, and that’s the nature of human beings, and referees are, believe it or not, human beings.

    Some incidents are so obvious that they seem incontrovertible, but without doubt, if you took a vote in a room full of a hundred neutral fans, there would still be some who would see it different. That, as I say, is human nature.

    So what about these ‘subjective’ decisions?

    Some are like the one I alluded to above, pretty strait forward or 90/10 lets say.

    Some are very tricky. The 50/50 calls.

    Some 60/40.


    And so on.

    Now I would suggest that every single team has an equal amount of 50/50 calls, 60/40 calls, 90/10 calls, to be made for, or against them, agreed?

    And that, I believe, is where the bias, or some would say, the cheating starts.

    Yes, Arsenal probably will get those 90/10 calls in there favour, maybe even the 70/30 calls. But where the problems begin are with the tight calls. The 60/40’s the 50/50’s and the 40/60’s. That is I believe where this massive tilt against us stems from.

    A referee is much more likely to give a 60/40,a 50/50, a 40/60, or even a 30/70 call in favour of United, City and Chelsea than he ever is going to in our favour.

    And that is a MASSIVE factor. If you apply that level of ’tilt’ in every match, the disparity it will cause between a team favoured by this ’tilt’ and one that is unfavoured, will be insurmountable.

    But here’s the rub, given the ‘subjective’ nature of all these calls, some people could, and indeed actually do, claim that EVERY decision, no matter how 30/70 50/50 or 70/30 made against Arsenal is correct. Despite this massive disparity in the way these incidents are called against Arsenal compared to others, these people still claim all is fair.

    So that’s HOW they get away with, but WHY do the Referees treat us ‘subjectively’ as badly as they do?

    Well for one, as we have seen highlighted over these last few weeks, it doesn’t matter how soft the call he makes against us is, he will always get the 100% backing of the media. And conversely, no matter how harsh the call against us, he will again, get the full backing of the media.

    The referee knows, adopting an approach of erring against Arsenal at every opportunity is going to go down well on the back pages, and in the studios of SKY Sports, MOTD, Talksport and the rest.

    And mark my words, it is how he is perceived in these arenas that makes or breaks his career, and being seen to screw Arsenal is one very big step on the road to a successful career in black.

  5. Excellent article, well done Vince for your hard work and Untold for putting it together as an article.
    It would be very difficult to argue against the findings, after all they are facts, or stats if you prefer. However the ‘you can prove anything with stats’ brigade will, before the day is over, attempt to discredit the findings one way or another, you mark my words.
    I really enjoyed your post which is pretty much in line with what some of our regular posters have said in the past. Jambug for example would especially concur with your WHY conclusions.
    Regarding the main thrust of your HOW observations you can extend the same reasoning to all decisions made by the referee anywhere on the pitch and all through the game, not just penalty’s and red cards. The same would apply to the linesman and fourth official as well.
    That would explain why the silly niggly little fouls are often ignored when committed by our opponents but given when committed by our players, and why yellow cards are given seemingly more quickly to our players than the opposition.
    There was an article a while back I believe that showed we were given yellow cards per smaller number of fouls committed than any other teams.
    Amazing that despite this huge disadvantage we still manage to maintain a top four place year after year.

  6. Once again Vince, this is a very well researched and presented article. It shows the statistics, but doesn’t provide any reasons as to “WHY”.
    Nitram, has also presented a very good argument regarding the percentages, but again, the WHY is not so convincing.
    semeotist, is the closest to my own reasoning, except I don’t believe that those syndicates are so insignificant, I think they are right on our doorstep.

    The relevant date is June, 2009. That is the date that Mike Riley was appointed PGMO Manager.

    To show statistics that MAY be evidence of bias, we need to know what happened in the similar period prior to June, 2009, as those provided since. The statistic that might sway any legal mind, would be that the previous 7 year period would include the “Arsenal Invincibles” season. That, being Arsenals last EPL title, could suggest that any bias might have started 4 years prior to Riley taking over at PGMO.

    One point that is set in stone, is that Riley himself effectively ended the Invincibles run (game 50), with an inept display of refereeing that we had probably ever seen (up to that point).

    Back to Riley and his appointment though. One of the first acts he undertook was to sack the administrative group that effectively ran PGMO on the Manager’s behalf. He sacked 4 of the 5 coaches, and now there is only one. What’s more, according to Mark Halsey, when Riley took over, each match day was attended by a match assessor from the PGMOL, match delegate from the Premier League on behalf of the clubs and one of the coaches. It was the Match Assessor (PGMO) who gave the pep talk prior to the game, gave updates at half time, and give a report after the game on various points. Now, apparently, it’s just the EPL delegate who does the chatting – not even a PGMO employee. And the full report takes days to reach the official!

    So, let’s just reflect on that….

    PGMO Model – The referee receives his report DAYS after the match
    UEFA Model – The referee receives his report on the night of the game

    Proof then, that under Riley, PGMO does as it likes, is under no control of any national, regional, or global FA. Not the English FA, not UEFA and not FIFA. We know that PGMO under Riley is not accountable to anyone. Unless of course, that accountability is to organisations that are not interested in clubs, fans, grass roots – only in predicting the outcome of a game.

    Look at Riley’s current team:

    Adam Watt, Select Group Manager: Experience Non League Football referee;
    Jonathan Simmonite, Training and Development Manager: Experience – no experience as a referee;
    Neil Cottrill, Select Group Head of Coaching: Experience – Badminton.

    (Note: Relative Wikipedia pages have not been updated since Webb joined PGMO).

    The UK Government’s so called “investigation” into Football corruption has been going on for years, but we can probably tie the starting date of the current enquiry to 2011. Ironically, this is the same time that Riley brought in his “tick a box” referee assessments, upon which he bases his “96%” correct decision making claim.

    Trawling through the hundreds of pages of evidence, letters to and from the government committee and the FA, I have not ONCE found mention of possible match fixing. Not once. In fact, PGMO have not even been mentioned, or indeed, ordered to appear before the committee, or answer questions from it. How can that be? How come, in the light of Mark Halsey’s claims of being told to lie in his reports, has that not rung alarm bells in the committee? How can ex referees raise issues that at the very least, PGMO is accountable to no one, and that serious breaches of administration of the rules by officials of PGMO, go unchallenged by TV pundits, the media, the FA, the EPL and finally, by the government department which is responsible for uncovering corruption in sport?

    I’m not going to repeat my article some time ago, which concentrated on Clarke’s appearance before the government committee on corruption. However, it is most interesting that he is today, threatening to resign, if the government does NOT accept his reform proposals, which MAY result in the loss of £30 million in government funding, which mainly goes towards the development of grass roots football.

    If Clarke’s reforms don’t at the very least offer some insight to the operation of PGMO, then his resignation should NOT be to far away. Concentrating on issues surrounding football agents, bungs and the lack of due diligence in the appointing of the England manager are important considerations.

    So is the suspicion by football supporters (and not just Arsenal supporters), that somehow, the actions of the officials in charge of EPL matches, are contributing unreasonably, to the outcome of games.

  7. What I do not understand is how/why AFC management does not (re)act.

    Those are damning numbers and considering the implications in the betting world, you’d imagine the judicial powers would have ample reason for an inquiry, for sending officers to PL and PGMO offices seize documents, data, computers, agendas, subpoena actors and get to the bottom of it once and for all. Betting implicates 10s or hundreds of millions after all.

    Just last week, 2 players (or was it one) of the french handball team who just became world champions were found guilty in relation to betting.

    Can’t see why this avenue is not actively pursued in England.

    Thinking about it, it would be interesting to know what the betting outcomes ‘against’ Arsenal are ? I mean, what UA has done to uncover ref behaviour would have some effect on betting and returns woudn’t it ?

  8. I meant to add that MP’s will be debating a vote of no confidence in the FA on Thursday.

  9. Chris

    …and which PGMO officials have been involved in working with gambling companies?

    Even Joey Barton looks like a sacrificial lamb – twat that he is, he can’t be the ONLY professional involved in football to have placed bets in the past ten years? That’s just unrealistic!

  10. Norman14

    as far as I am concerned, I’d like all these actors sitting in front of a grand jury and explaining stuff.
    Then there are 2 possibilities : sheer incompetence and/or personal bias which results in the same thing and unlafful handling.

    Yet the more I think about it the more I beleive this will be the only way to get some clarity.

    If we were in the US and it were the NBA or NFL, or MLB, we’d have been through all that already, with all the emphasis on stats they are putting there.
    Remember deflategate ? Can’t see that (i mean the equivalent) happening in the UK….

    Maybe when people – you, me, supporters – stop paying TV fees, the thing will collapse by itself and sanity may have a chance to get restored.

    I watch german games as well. You ought to see how the TV shows bad, wrong, dubious and or right decisions, highlighting the sequence on replay.
    I believe that nothing the sort of we see in the UK could happen – yep this is an opinion !

  11. I suppose the club is locked behind the vagaries of the EPL, so maybe that would rock the boat far too much.

  12. Norman a lot of posts have been held in moderation even from regular posters like you. Maybe you used a forbidden word in the long comment that was the reason for that being held back

  13. Chris
    I noticed that too, so i tend to try to get a foreign stream when i can. They show everything in replays, why does UK not do it?
    Strange thing is, it might well be Sky in foreign lands doing this too, why not in UK? That is the question.

  14. Wonderful and succinct article! Referees and assistants have ample opportunities to slant the outcome of a game and rarely If ever get caught. A referee can ignore serious foul play,claiming he’s allowing advantage, he can whistle a foul or ignore one in the penalty area and caution or eject a player according to his own agenda without having to justify it at all as we all are well aware.
    Referees and linesmen are ambitious,especially at the highest levels and that allows the corrupters to profit from their eagerness to advance, in order to influence the results of a game.Add in the already inherent subconscious bias referees bring to every game, the stresses that can disturb their concentration during a game, the fear they have of being demoted,the ubiquitous competition and rivalry that top level officials always have between them and others, and we have a great cocktail that can be easily exploited by dishonest forces. These forces are at liberty to do everything in the shadows because the FA is useless, the PIGMOB is a dictatorship, the media have their own self-serving agenda, the authorities are too busy pretending to care, the EPL is image-conscious but in a negative way, the teams don’t want to rock the boat (including Arsenal), some players are so greedy that bribing is easily inculcated, and so on.
    It is the perfect storm and will soon finish anything reputable about Football If it is allowed to continue.

  15. A great piece of work. Well done. One day the bottom will fall out and we shall see who are involved.

  16. omgarsenal

    It’s obvious that someone, somewhere , is directing this theatre, but I wonder what happens when things go wrong. Looking at last night’s game between Leicester and Derby, it was obvious at 1-0 that Mike Jones and his assistants were being either grossly incompetent, or cheating. Derby’s equaliser came from a a typical Jones “favourites” free kick. The tackle was nothing. Derby scored 1-1. Then, one of the worst decisions I think I have ever seen when the Derby keeper handles the ball when at least a metre and a half outside the box. Jones decision: No handball, No Red Card (Walter?), a yellow card to the Leicester player for complaining. Then the media covering it up by saying that it looked like the keeper chested it. FFS – Mitchell looked to be normally formed to me, I couldn’t see his chest stuck on the end of his arm. Maybe he’s a shape shifter. So, well done Jones and the assistant (who must have been auditioning for a Specsavers advert). Job done. Job done again a few minutes later, when Jones turned down a penalty appeal from Leicester. Fair enough, but it was the type of challenge that Deli Ali probably dreams about, and which he gets regularly. Whatever “skills” Mike Riley is teaching these officials, consistency is certainly not one of them.

    However, then, the bias against Leicester fell in a hole, because they scored TWO fantastic, individual goals. Not even Agent Jones could do anything about them, and his plan was stuffed. Maybe Claudio has sussed what was going on and, and changed tactics to create those runs and efforts on goal. Who knows.

    Interestingly, Jones doesn’t have a lead role anywhere this weekend (4th official at Liverpool). Was he potentially taken out of the firing line in anticipation?

    Who knows how Mike Riley’s “mind” works.

  17. This is what I wrote in response to Vince’s original post.

    ‘Absolutely brilliant

    Those are facts, irrefutable facts.

    Nothing subjective. Nothing to do with opinion.

    Hence, since you posted them yesterday there has not been one, not a single poster refuting or attempting to discredit them, or the conclusions to be drawn.

    And that’s what you will find Vince.

    Produce the stats. Present the evidence and what do you hear?

    The silence is deafening.

    But hey, guess what, the next time you hear a debate on bad refereeing you will hear how it ‘all evens out in the end’.

    And guess what, the next time you hear a debate on who gets the rub of the green with referees and who doesn’t you can bet your bottom Dollar, Arsenal will be top of everyone’s list for the team that ‘gets the most decisions’ from referees.’

    –And that is still the case, both on the original thread and now on this one.

    The aaa’s are normally all over UA like a rash when you publish articles similar to this, but it seems this one really has them stumped. I think their absolute silence on this just adds weight to exactly how damning these statistics really are.

    If it where just possible to take these statistics, and sit down face to face with PGMOB, the FA and some media hacks, on a public forum, and ask them to explain them, along with the coincidence of how things changed following game 50 and Riley’s subsequent appointment, I think that would make for a very interesting debate, especially if video evidence was allowed.

    Hearing them trying to explain away the events of game 50 alone could be quite interesting.

    Mike Hazel

    “… can extend the same reasoning to all decisions made by the referee anywhere on the pitch.”


    If, as has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt, I would suggest, the referees are applying a negative bias towards Arsenal with regard to such important decisions as Red Cards and Penalties, isn’t it then perfectly justified to assume the same bias is being applied to every other decision they make?

    The term ‘match tilting’ is often used by UA by way of explaining the performance of the men in black, and I think that is a perfect description.

    Because in elite sport that’s all you have to do to make a massive difference. You don’t have to out right cheat, so to speak, just a little ’tilt’ (let alone a massive one such as we are witnessing) is usually enough to effect a result.

    Ask a race horse trainer how much difference a mere 5lb can make to his horses chances of winning.

    If Usain Bolt is 5% below his best, that’s only half a second. Nothing really. But that equates to nearly 5 Metres. Despite how superior he is, that’s the Gold medal gone.

    That’s how small a ’tilt’ it takes to make a World of difference.

    So what constitutes a ’tilt’ ? Well, for example, it can mean, instead of getting 50% of the 50/50 calls, you get just 30% of them, whilst others get 70% of them.

    That’s massive, and what’s more, on the face of it, it doesn’t even look like anything dodgy is actually happening.

    For example, lets say in any one match Arsenal are involved in 5 x 50/50’s

    Decision one is looked at and the ref, in his impartial judgement decides – No foul on Bellerin – Fair enough.

    Decision two is looked at by the ref, in his impartial judgement decides – No foul by Alonso – Fair enough.

    Decision three is looked at by the ref, in his impartial judgement decides – Penalty to Bournemouth – Fair enough.

    Decision four is looked at by the ref, in his impartial judgement decides – Red card for Xhaka – Fair enough.

    Decision five is looked at by the ref, in his impartial judgement decides – Foul on Kos, penalty to Arsenal – Fair enough.

    Each one, looked at on it’s own, you can justifiable say the ref was right. They where all 50/50 calls after all.

    In fact he cant be wrong can he? With 50/50’s he is always going to be right in half the peoples eyes.

    But that same scenario plays out in the next game, and the next.

    So that’s 15 x 50/50 calls.

    12 of which have gone against Arsenal and 3 in there favour, and guess what? The referee hasn’t got a single decision wrong, because after all they are all 50/50 calls and as we said, whatever he does he CANT be wrong.

    But wrong or not on an individual basses, anyone with an atom of sense can see that something most definitely IS WRONG.

    And when you see that kind of imbalance being applied over a NINE year period, the you know for sure that something sinister is most definitely going on.

    And all without the referee making a single wrong call.

    Amazing. Cheating without cheating.

    And that is why ’tilting’ is such an appropriate description of what is going on, because all it takes is a little ’tilt’ to make such a massive difference.

    But hey, enough of the niceties, we are being screwed, well and truly.

  18. This is the debate pre-amble for today..

    “That this House has no confidence in the ability of the Football Association (FA) to comply fully with its duties as a governing body, as the current governance structures of the FA make it impossible for the organisation to reform itself; and calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals to reform the governance of the FA.”

    My understanding is that the committee investigating governance in sport want a no confidence vote, but Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch wants the FA to have more time. After all, they’ve only had 6 years!

  19. Oleg

    This is different to what Shotta did on PA. I’ve no doubt they each looked into it independently. I’ve done so myself in the past but didn’t have the wherewithal to link the penalty stats to goal-scoring stats, as Vince did to great effect.

    He then went and knocked it out of the park again by adding the card stats to it.

  20. Just want to add something to Vince’s work here as I believe these are more stats which fit the same picture

    At one point, after the late double yellow sending off of an opponent, it occurred to me that whenever this happens it always seems to be late in the game. I look into it and that was resoundingly the case.

    The Drinkwater sending off aside, in 5 years of football the earliest an opponent got a second yellow was the 84th minute, with all others being 87 or later. This year again the only one- Jagielka, Everton, was very late, 90.

    Ours, I guessed, would always tend to be earlier; so it proved.

    Arsenal double yellows Opposition double yellows

    (11-12) 70,77,78; [45] 90,87,90 [3]
    (12-13) 69,62; [49] -none-
    (13-14) 67; [23] -none-
    (14-15) 78; [12] 89,90,84 [7]
    (15-16) 55 [35] 54 [36]

    Total minutes with ten men (- injury time)


    45+49+23+12+35 = 164 mins (2hrs 44 mins of football)

    Opposition 3+7+ 36 =46 mins (0hrs 46 mins of football)

  21. Arsenal double yellows Opposition double yellows

    (11-12) 70,77,78; [45] 90,87,90 [3]
    (12-13) 69,62; [49] -none-
    (13-14) 67; [23] -none-
    (14-15) 78; [12] 89,90,84 [7]
    (15-16) 55 [35] 54 [36]

    total regular time mins per season with player sent off for 2nd yellow in [ brackets ]

  22. More brilliant work Rich.

    And still we haven’t heard a word from the naysayers, and we know there reading this.

    It must really be scrambling there brains.

  23. I don’t think you can point to June 2009, and say that is when the problems started.

    I have asked the question before. What in SAF’s resume prior to the beginning of the EPL, points to his success in the EPL?

    I don’t think the formation of the EPL was in bad faith. But I think that some involved looked at the formation of the EPL as an opportunity. And they subverted the EPL enough, that unlikely events like SAF’s success and the rise/fall of Leicester last season are more likely to happen.

    Some of the former referee and referee managers (very slightly) complaining about 😈 Mike Riley were not appreciably better. Like a certain Untolder or two, they prefer a certain minimum amount of gratuitous violence that is not permitted by the laws. It’s not a foul (switch view to player with leg broken), he got the ball. His eye was on the ball. Gee, the only time I broke boards in karate was when I was looking at the board.

  24. Wow, what a huge surprise; none of the usual lot of idiots popping up to try and discredit all of these extremely damning statistics. That’s the thing, they always give it big about how our manager is inept and how the referee reviews and general idea that there is a clear bias against Arsenal, is nothing but a stupid conspiracy theory to defend Wenger, but when in the face of stats such as these, they are completely silent, as they know it pretty much destroys their argument and gives a huge amount of credence to ours.

    The worst thing about it, though, is that you can bet any money that next time we loose, the same old miserable crowd will be on here, waving their fingers at Wenger and berating anyone that dear says the referee influenced the game; completely disregarding this article as it doesn’t fit into their close-minded narrative; choosing to remain ignorant about the whole thing.

    How can you possibly argue with statistics like these?

  25. I believe that the 4 penalties we were given at the beginning of the season was an attempt by the refs to not make the figures look as bad as they really are. A sudden spate of penalties after so long a period of getting so very few, very unusual pattern. I think this discounts the suggestion made that the only reason they are doing is to get on the right side of the media.

    For perspective it would be good to see teams average position in the League as well.

    Also it would be interesting to see Manu’s figure on pens, red cards etc. since SAF left, very interesting.

    “But here’s the rub, given the ‘subjective’ nature of all these calls, some people could, and indeed actually do, claim that EVERY decision, no matter how 30/70 50/50 or 70/30 made against Arsenal is correct. Despite this massive disparity in the way these incidents are called against Arsenal compared to others, these people still claim all is fair.” – the problem is there are a very large percentage of Arsenal fans (or who claim to be Arsenal fans) who argue extremely vociferously against any call in – or against – Arsenal’s favour (much more than you would get with any other club).

    @Mick Hazel
    “There was an article a while back I believe that showed we were given yellow cards per smaller number of fouls committed than any other teams.” – again it would be good to see all these facts in the one article and as Rich said you could also add the stats about what minute people get sent off against us in, compared to what minute our players get sent off in, which is very damning. You could then try and get as many people as possible to view the results.

  26. Jammy J

    Exactly, it doesn’t suit there narrative.

    The point is, I accept the way we are refereed isn’t the reason behind every defeat we suffer, but nether the less it is a fact there’s hardly a match goes by, win, lose or draw, that we aren’t poorly treated by the man in black.

    But besides the dubious refereeing, of course there are other factors.

    The opposition simply being better than us for one.

    Then there’s injuries. Picking the wrong team. Playing the wrong tactics. Bad luck etc. etc.

    All these things and more play a part.

    But by and large all teams have injuries, some more, some less than us.

    All managers pick the wrong team occasionally, as they pick the wrong tactics.

    All teams have good and bad luck.

    But, as those statistics clearly show, no other team suffers at the hands of a referee as we do.

    If we where treated with penalty awards, as Man City are for example, how would a ratio turn around of FORTY penalties equate to points?

    Similarly with Red Cards. How would not having a single player sent off over the last 2 years, as per Spurs, of equated into points?

    Difficult to calculate I appreciate, but given that say 8 out of 10 penalties are scored, that’s over 30 goals. How many points could 30 more goals earn you?

    Playing with 10 men and losing the amount of players we do through suspension must cost points.

    Not only has Wenger had to battle with his hands tied on a financial front, he’s also had to deal with a clearly anti Arsenal bias from referees, and until I see Wenger being given a level playing field to work with I will cut him as much slack as he needs, because I challenge any other manager in the World to match what Wenger has done over the years, DESPITE being screwed by the man in black, season after season.

  27. Despite all this, by the way, I still lean firmly towards there not being outright corruption. Or, if there were any, the number involved would be very small, perhaps not including a single referee.

    I think it’s much more likely to be something else, which unfortunately happens to create the exact same results corruption would.

    I find it more likely that it is a case of venal, morally corrupt people abusing their power and influence to shape events in their interests, with, quite likely, a great deal of bias in play as well.

    Things that are almost certain :

    The premier league, with Scudamore seemingly a sort of king in that organisation ,wield enormous perhaps total power over pgmol; they provide 80% of their finances and are in charge of hiring or firing the general manager.

    And the premier league seemingly like riley’s style. They appointed him. They removed the guy before him. He has now been in the job for many years. They must also be largely happy with the way games are officiated as they have chosen not to exert the pressure which would guarantee a change of refereeing standards and norms, which have been fairly consistent in Riley’s time.

    The majority of premier league clubs, especially the biggest, must also be happy enough with how things are. Despite Scudamore’s apparent untouchability, it is surely true that if enough clubs or the right clubs were unhappy enough, then he would be forced to change things or depart.

    Riley, and maybe another powerful person or two, exercise absolutely enormous, possibly total, control over the careers of the referees. Quite likely no one joins the Select Group without his consent. Once there, refs either get a lot of games or few depending on his say so, alongside performance reviews.

    Likewise, it seems it is mostly his decision whether or not refs get to do the big games, which, to my surprise (i was naive, naive, once upon a time), is a tremendously important thing for them, a source of pride, motivation,etc.

    So, Riley and perhaps a few others have a phenomenal tool of control purely through their match selections. If a ref tried to do his own thing, what he felt was right, as well as the feedback of his assessments there is the more important feedback of what games he is subsequently appointed to

    Various actors and agents have been unable or unwilling to deliver on the original aim of delivering 24 referees for the Select Group. That number was surely chosen for very sound reasons. Yet in the richest league football has ever known there has been a complete failure to deliver this number. They’ve had 15 years or so.

    On a similar theme, anyone with a modicum of understanding of human nature would see it as desirable to deliver a good, close to even spread of referees from around the country. Bias is something that even the very best people are said to be unable to conquer completely. The failure on this front has been spectacular. Still we have a gigantic North/south imbalance. Again, with the money in our game, this is pathetic.

    Pgmol do give their referees a great deal of feedback. There are many processes in place to support referees, make clear what is expected of them, review past performances and prepare for upcoming games. In other words it is not a chaotic organisation and more importantly the refs are surely generally delivering what is expected of them by their superiors.

    Those are some of the certainties or near certainties. A lot of the rest is unknown. But we see the results of it, and they are lamentable.

  28. Rich

    Maybe some stats on the time of the FIRST yellow card, because I believe this will have a direct bearing on when the second Yellow card comes about.


    There have been many articles done on UA regarding the fouls to card ratio, and again they do not make good reading if you are an Arsenal fan

  29. you can’t argue with statistics like these , how can you argue that bellerin wasn’t fouled ???? You can’t because every pundit thought it was a fair challenge.I have only spoke to 1 person this week (non arsenal supporter)who thought that the goal should have been disallowed, everybody including a lot of Arsenal fans are brainwashed by the media

  30. What is wrong with referees from other countries? We have freedom of employment across Europe (until Brexit really kicks in) & footballers & coaches are represented. Why not officials?

    The area that is truly made for corruption is the ‘talking to’ by referees. Pointing to 3 or 4 different locations waffling on a bit then the ‘no more gesture’. It is truly a fake move because it is ‘card evasion’ in a very obvious form. Atkinson gave Costa one of those ‘no more gestures’ after evading the card issue. No Arsenal player had a second chance.

  31. Great article and insightful and level-headed comments from all. My huge question is “why”, why is this happening? What we see so clearly and support with damning evidence must clearly be seen and felt by the club as well. So why are they not addressing this?
    I think we need to look beyond individual referees, Mike Riley, pgmob, and the media echo chambers for answers. How is it possible all these can avoid seeing what is so clear? Perhaps there Is a design that explains it all but such is the secrecy shrouding all these actors, perhaps including our club as well, that we may only speculate. Is there a powerful entity beyond the FA and pgmob that creates and orchestrates the design?

    In the absence of transparency we can only speculate.

  32. UK MP’s have moved a Vote of No Confidence in the FA this evening.

    Looks like Clarke’s days might be numbered, along with others on the FA Board.

    Interesting times, and a good time to put PGMO in front of the Select Committee on Football Governance.

  33. Thanks Vince, amazing work.
    Not sure the root cause, but bias, corrupt agents, bookies, dodgy refs, enforced media narratives will all play a part.
    the funny thing, if eddie howe was manager of arsenal, it would stop tomorrow…..not that i am wishing that outcome btw

  34. A great analysis and good supporting comments. I would add into the mix that the teams that get the most penalties play for them the most giving the ref a chance to turn some down but still award more. There may also be the case that if you have a player that is very “skillful” at earning a penalty this rubs off both on his attacker partners and by playing in such a manner in training the defenders learn how to avoid dark arts.

  35. And still, as we move in to the third day of this debate, not a single word from the usual suspects.

    Yet mark my word, on some quiet non descript day in the future they’ll be back, dismissing the referee reviews out of hand as the work of a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorists.

    They wont have a shred of counter evidence of course, not o jot.

    But hey, who needs evidence when you know what you see with your own eyes ?

  36. MickHazel

    Thanks, I have seen most of the articles.
    What I would like is to see them all in one place for comparison and to share round to contacts etc.
    That is, the fouls to cards ratio, yellows and reds, penalties to goals etc. etc. all in one article, from the start of the Mike Riley PGMOL era.

  37. Micko


    Are these’ contacts’ just friends? Colleagues? or are they of influence?

    Because it’s my experience that the second you show friends, colleagues and the like, these kind of stats, they just glaze over. They may give you a cursory, ‘blimey that’s amazing’ but honestly, they do not give a f*** and fall straight back in line the second you leave the room.

    But getting them in front of someone of influence, who more importantly does give a f***, would at least be a start.

  38. Nitram

    Just seen your comment. Stats on first yellow a bit beyond me mate. Finding second yellows could be done very quickly in comparison.

    I’m not sure they would look that suspicious either. My belief is that we do tend to get them much easier, especially if it’s Coquelin or someone in key defensive position, but all that wouldn’t show through in the stats. My guess is that the opposition get the first booking slightly more often than us.

    They’ll show nothing of what was let go, nor what the threshold is for our bookings versus theirs. That’s all stuff which can barely be captured by statistics. I consider it as the stuff- individual decisions, spotting patterns in decision making- which drives me to try find anything which can be captured well by stats

    Considering how much fouling they do, that’s what I expect- opposition getting booked first more often than not. The refs still need opportunities to go against us, i.e. they can’t create them from thin air, though sometimes it’s bloody close to that.

    As for the times of our first bookings in cases where the second yellow is produced or where the media wet themselves saying it should have been, my impression is that it doesn’t matter : once booked, we can barely afford another foul, no matter how soft.

    See Chambers at Stoke for a momentary grab, or all that fuss about Coquelin at Palace where he didn’t get one for two incredibly soft fouls (and Mason got demoted for weeks for the crime of not punishing him for them)

  39. Brilliant stuff from Vince and contributors.

    The idea of writing a book compiling all these stats appeals greatly but who has the time? Well, I’m planning to retire in 3 or 4 years so if nobody’s done it by then I think I might just give it a go!

  40. I think it would be a good idea to “sticky” this thread somewhere, so that it doesn’t get lost in the archives. These statistics really are incredibly damning, so it would be a shame to let them slip into cyberspace.

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