160 games analysed

A summary of the research by the Referee Review team

It is commonplace for occasional visitors to Untold to write sarcastic comments about referees and our views thereon.  The view, usually expressed very simply, and occasionally rather rudely, says “you always blame the refs when it is obvious to anyone that it is Wenger’s (or the players’) fault.”

In order to overcome this, over the years Untold has published a whole range of material about referees, using a wide range of analyses to consider how they have performed.

One of the biggest analyses undertaken was one in which all the weekend’s premier league matches were analysed each weekend, and the analysis was presented with video evidence to back up our claims.

This was an utterly enormous task, and it ran for 16 weeks – enough to iron out any local variations because of referee inexperience, adjusting to new nuances in the rules, and of course to take into account the possibility that it all evens out in the end.  In short 160 games were analysed in depth, and the report showed on video exactly how and why our panel found errors where they did.

“But you are all Arsenal fans – you’re bound to find in Arsenal’s favour.”

As a preliminary to this research we ran on the old “Referee Decisions” site, a web site that analysed matches across the League using referees who had no association with Arsenal – but without video evidence.  The results were the same, as you can see on the web site.

Now we’ve done it again and we have found similar results – this time with video evidence.  For anyone who still thinks all our evidence is biased, even after studying all the video evidence we can only suggest that you do some research of your own and present it against ours.

We did it – it is possible for a small group of interested people to do it.  So you could do it as well.


Here are the key articles we have published on the subject.

This season the refereeing of 160 PL games was analysed in detail with video evidence. This is what we found.

The Untold Analysis of Refereeing in the first 16 weeks of the 2016/17 season – all matches

Only 18% of Premier League referees manage to get more major decisions right than wrong!

And what others say

“How bad is some of our refereeing in the PL? Simply awful.” Talksport, 9 April 2017.

Telegraph follows Untold in ranking referees: how does their analysis match up with ours?

Referees’ organisation repeats its 98% accuracy claim: but how on earth do they get that figure?