- JUST HOW MUCH are PL referees biased in favour of home teams?
By Tony Attwood
In the UK, people are free to believe what they like. But there are requirements that the BBC, as a national broadcaster funded through taxation has a duty to be impartial. I think there might also be a similar requirement on certain other channels, although obviously not all.
But even with a requirement of impartiality, there is no requirement to cover all the news – and of course that would be impossible anyway, even on 24 hour rolling news channels. So the media, whether it is discussing football or anything else, chooses what is news and what is not.
And the media has decided that the imbalance in the ways referees in the Premier League undertake their duties is not an issue for debate.
There is no denying the imbalance is there, because as we have reported shown, figures from WhoScored show us that Moss oversaw 25 games and in over two thirds of these there was a home win, while Marriner oversaw 19 games and only a quarter were home wins.
It is a huge difference and it is a newsworthy issue. Which referee clubs got last season was a major factor in determining whether the result would be a home win or an away win.
But what this meant in practice can be seen through this table. Moss, as we know is much more likely to oversee games with home wins rather than away wins.
He oversaw four Manchester United home games and three Tottenham home games but only one Arsenal home game last season. In each case the home team would have had an advantage because Moss had a much higher level of home wins than away wins.
He oversaw two Arsenal away games, so we had a disadvantage there, although one must pity poor Brentford who got him four times in away games.
Now let us consider Marriner, who delivers away wins much more regularly, and home wins much less regularly. Arsenal had Marriner as the referee for their home matches three times last season – no other club had him more often.
But Marriner has a propensity to deliver away wins. And Arsenal got him only once away from home while Chelsea got him away from home four times.
So to be clear on this point, a referee who the statistics show tends to oversee home wins, was rarely given to Arsenal at home.
A referee who the statistics show tends to oversee away wins, was rarely given to Arsenal away.
Arsenal were in fact not only playing the opposition but also playing the referee. While other clubs, got the home advantage referee many, many more times while playing at home, and the away advantage referee more times away.
Two huge points emerge from this. First, it is ludicrous that some referees should regularly be much more likely than others to give home or away wins. If (to take numbers at random) the figure across the league is that 40% of games are home wins, then a referee taking 10 or more games should be getting an average of somewhere around 40% home wins in the games he sees. Likewise with away games.
In such a situation it would not matter what referee each club got.
But in the actual situation, some referees are much more likely to give home wins than away wins, AND some clubs get these referees in circumstances that benefit them, others not.
Last season Arsenal lost out on both counts. They were getting home-biased referees when playing away and away-biased referees when playing at home.
Now the excuse for the present system is always that it all balances out in the end – but of course, that is only possible if all referees are refereeing the matches with either no bias or the same bias.
Here we have a situation in which the home win figures for referees who take 20+ games run from 64% (Moss) to down to 25% (Coote).
So if Arsenal get Coote for home games and Moss for away games they have a real disadvantage.
Of course Arsenal don’t just get Coote and Moss and nor are they always in the “wrong” setting, but there is a real and absolute bias going on in terms of Arsenal getting home win referees when playing away and away win referees when playing at home. A bias which is not happening to other clubs.
Two issues arise. One is that the media utterly refuses to get anywhere near this subject. Two is that PGMO are just allowing (or perhaps even encouraging) the situation to continue.
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