REf Review 2012/13 : bias per team away games

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  closely 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 was looking at the 4 most important decisions on the football field that could have the biggest impact on the final result of games. We have shown this in the wrong decisions about second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals. And we did not only 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 medal.

Next to our seemingly never ending numbers coming out from our reviews we will show all the bias decisions that teams had to suffer last season in the matches we reviewed.

We showed you how many decisions went in favour of each team at home and how many decisions went against each team at home. A bit like we did with the important decisions. But in this table we will also show what that means for each team in relation with how many games we reviewed. We will do this by showing the average decision they faced each game we reviewed.

And in this article we will do this for the away games and then in a next article we will give you the grand total.

This is also important in the way that big decisions are sometimes more visible. More visible when the people who show games on TV allow them to be visible and this certainly goes for programmes on TV where they only show highlights. Cutting an important decision out of the highlights can make things look differently.

So the numbers we will show you include the big decisions but also the more invisible little decisions bias. Things only the eyes of a trained person will see and that mostly is overlooked by most fans in the stadium or even watching on TV.  These are the numbers that include the decisions  were referees know that you can go from a level playing field in to a biased playing field.

In the tables you are going to see we have for each team the numbers of decisions that favoured them and then we have the numbers when they were suffering from the wrong decisions from the ref. In the third column of numbers you then see the total swing. And in the final column you see the average swing taking in account the number of games we reviewed. And it is that number that we will focus on when we talk about the tables.

But let us first have a look at the numbers. The decisions for and against each team when they played away:

away swing

First thing we notice is that in this table we see a more even picture. This is another confirmation of the existing home bias. We now suddenly see that away from home more teams suffer from wrong decision compared to playing at home.  And when we look at some individual teams we also see that there is a difference for their numbers when playing at home or when playing away. And most of the time the numbers show that they are better of playing at home.

What a surprise Mr. Riley? Well maybe for you, no longer for us.

The team that benefited most from wrong decisions from the refs away from home is…Norwich. Who? Yes Norwich. For some reason refs have given them an awful lot of decisions in their favour when on the road. Now they haven’t had the highest number of decisions in their favour in total but this is based on the average per game playing away from home. So not really a big team bias at the top one could say.

But when we look at the number of decisions in their favour we see that Manchester United is the team that got most things going their way. This results in just under 4 decisions going their way on average in each away game. Remember at home just under 6 decisions and away it drops with 2 decisions. But a number that most teams would love to enjoy.

And just like with the home bias numbers we notice once again that this has nothing to do with big team bias. Because in 3rd place we find Stoke. They have benefited more than 3 decisions also on their travellings. So theory that it is the atmosphere at the Brittania that forces refs to give them decisions is wrong. And then next in 4th place we have West Ham United.

When we look at the other top 4 teams we see that Manchester City, who had a little negative home bias against them now have a little away bias in their favour.  The team that finished in 3rd place, Chelsea has a negative bias away from home. They have to overcome 1 decision against them in each away game it seems.

And when we look at Arsenal we see that they have suffered the highest negative away bias of all teams. At home they have to overcome more than 7 decisions and away from home this rises up to just under 10 decisions per match going against them. If you compare this with let us say Manchester United this gives us a difference of 14 decisions between those teams.

And if we use the table from the home bias and compare this with the away bias from two teams you get an indication on how a team has to overcome the referee in some games. Let us take a match Manchester United – Arsenal. United has a positive home bias of +5.667 and Arsenal a negative bias of -9.632. That gives a difference of 15 decisions! Of course this is based on averages but that is what Arsenal has to overcome when they go to United.

Level playing field, Mr. Riley? You having a laugh?

In our next article we will look at the grand total of decisions and the total swing for each team both home and away. If you still can digest it.

This entry was posted in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Norwich City, QPR, Reading, Referee Reviews, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, WBA, West Ham United, Wigan. Bookmark the permalink.

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