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.
For the next ref in our series we have ref Lee Mason. Ref Mason has been in the PL for a few years now (since 2006 to be exact) and he is 41 years old. So we will be seeing him around for a few more years.
In the season just behind us ref Mason did 24 games in the PL and we reviewed 15 of his games. That is 62,50% of his games we have been able to cover. So high enough to draw some conclusions on this ref. So how did he do when we look at all the decisions?
In the 15 games we did of him we found that ref Mason had to make 2179 decisions. And our review panel judged that 1903 of these decisions were correct in general. That gives him a score of 87,33% correct decisions. With that score he finds himself amongst the better ones in the PL. Not an over the moon score but still pretty good. And certainly better than last season.
Of course by now you know that judging them as correct is not the same as being correct completely. When we can’t judge a call or when we are not 100% sure he made a mistake we call the decision correct. But it might be that if we had seen other angles we might have seen an incorrect decision. So in general the numbers could be even flattering the refs but this goes for all the refs and not the refs we are looking at today.
But having some kind of decent general score is one thing. What matters more is seeing how his important decisions have been and this is something we can see in the next table.
Looking at the important decisions we see that Mason had to make 968 of them and he was judged to have 721 of them correct. That gives him a score of 74,48% correct decisions. And this is a bit lower than we have been used to in the latest reports. So let us look where these numbers come from.
His foul/free kick decisions drop below the 80% mark and that is not that good and should have been better. But to be fair to him and to give him credit this is better than it was last season in general.
His goal decisions could do with some help. He had 38 goals in total in the games we reviewed and had 5 wrongly awarded goals and this means that he didn’t reach 90% of correct goals. I don’t think we can be satisfied with this and certainly not as this is the most important decisions of them all.
Another thing looking bad is the penalty decisions. With only 30% correct this looks awful. If you compare this with the regular fouls/free kicks it shows that this might be a ref with penalty area fever. A ref who suddenly loses his decision making when the fouls are done in the penalty area. Being afraid to give the penalty? We have seen refs getting almost the same score in and outside the penalty area and a big difference between regular fouls and penalties is something I don’t like to see.
If we look at the disciplinary side of things it doesn’t look good. Not getting or giving 50% of his cards correctly is not really acceptable. And it gets worse when we see his handling of second yellow cards dropping to some 33%.
And only getting 11% of the red card decisions correct is not good at all.
So there is something missing to make this great numbers. Let us see if we can see strange things if we look at which teams suffered from his mistakes and which teams gained an advantage.
If we look at this table we see lots of teams involved and some 10 teams with a rather low bias number. On the negative side we have Swansea, Sunderland, Liverpool who suffered a little bit but not that much. Chelsea is the team that could say it evened out with Mason being the ref. And the teams with a small positive bias were Manchester City, QPR, Everton, West Ham United, Tottenham.
Teams having a bigger bias in their favour were Stoke, WBA, Aston Villa and Fulham being top of the list in this case.
If we go to the other side we see that Newcastle and Reading had a big negative bias when Mason was around.
And top of the list on the negative side is Arsenal. In the last reports we did we saw that those refs had a small negative bias with Arsenal but this time it goes through the roof (or perhaps one might say, “drops through the floor”. This is a very bad negative bias. It never came good I think after the troubles he had a few seasons ago when he did a game between Arsenal and Everton and made a complete mess of it.
FINAL CONCLUSION: If we look at his numbers in general he did rather well. But if we go in detail we see some major wrong numbers in the important decisions. Certainly his goal decision score need to improve a lot. As does his handing out yellow and red cards. And he should do something about his bias. Some teams really suffer when he is around and that is something that needs to be avoided.