Ref Review 2012/3: The team bias league table – The horrible truth

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. Other articles to this subject can be found on this site. Including reviews of games, reports on teams an reports on refs


 We  have been doing articles about the teams in a separate way up to now. But with all the teams done,  we will give you a summary of the total bias swing each team has had in the last season.  That way you can see both in a table and in a graphic how much difference there was for some teams.


Now before we give you the final bias table and graphic I want to once more point at the point that although this is a website that has been formed by Arsenal supporters that the reviews we have done in last season are not done solely  by Arsenal supporting referees. I gave the numbers on how many refs supported Arsenal in this article.


So the numbers you are about to see are in majority based on reviews done by not Arsenal supporting refs. In fact 65% of the reviewers supported another team than Arsenal.  Keep that in mind when you read the numbers and want to comment on the numbers.  These numbers are not born in our heads to have a go at a specific  team. These numbers are the result of referees analysing each decision in as many games as possible. We reviewed 202 games or 53,16% of the games.


Now that I hope that this is clear for all and everyone I now will give the league table with the bias per team. A negative number for a team means that this team has had a bias against them. Meaning that more wrong decisions went against them than went for them. A positive number means that this team had more wrong decisions going in their favour than going against them.


Now if we would believe the apologists who say: ‘ it all evens out in the end” we should see a table with all teams having a number close to 0. Because that is when it evens out. If you have 10 wrong decisions in your favour and 10 wrong decisions going against you the final result is that you could say it evens out. Mind you we don’t agree as we think that those 20 wrong decisions shouldn’t have happened.  But now let us see at the final league table that shows the bias for and against teams.


bias table 2012 2013


If we look at this table we see that Manchester United is the stand out team that had most of the bias going in their favour  of them all. In fact they had 2,5 times more things going their way than the team in second place which was Tottenham.


You could say that there has been 6 teams that had a big bias in their favour in the games we reviewed. Sunderland, Aston Villa, Norwich, Stoke, Tottenham Hotspur and of course Manchester United.  One could say that those teams were rather lucky when it came to refs making mistakes.


We then have 4 teams who had a reasonable bias in their favour. West Ham United, QPR, WBA and Everton were the lucky teams who had a bias in their favour, be it not a large one.


Now we also can find a few teams who had a rather small bias score at the end of our reviews: Newcastle, Wigan, Fulham and Chelsea were examples on how it should have been done if we look at all the games we reviewed. Because their bias score is low in total be it against them or favourable and close to zero as it should be for all teams.


And on the other side of the bias spectrum we have the poor teams who had to overcome not just their opponents but had to overcome biased refereeing. If this was deliberate or not is something we cannot say with 100% certainty. We cannot look in the head of the referees. But that will be not that important for the teams suffering from the wrong decisions. They just want correct decisions and the wrong one not hurting them.


On the bad side of the bias we find Reading, Manchester City, Southampton and Swansea with a not completely bad bias against them but still not acceptable. And then there are two teams who seems to be the ideal victims of bad refereeing.  The bias against Liverpool is bad. And way over the top.


But then we see the bias of Arsenal. And this is making me speechless.  I really had the impression last season that at some times the bias we found last year against was less. But the numbers are a shock to my system to be honest.


This is a bias that is totally unacceptable. How is this possible? Well I don’t know for sure. What could be the reason that such a big bias that has been found by 65% of referees who don’t support Arsenal in their reviews.


Last year we also found that the bias against Arsenal was the biggest of all the teams. And this year it is the same.  In fact this is the third year in a row we find such bias against Arsenal. But now with referees who support other teams having stepped in to do the reviews we find that the bias has been bigger than ever!


While I will let this sink in I invite you to look at graphic chart of this bias. A chart that shows even more how Arsenal seemed to have been singled out.


bias graphic


This graphic chart shows you the uphill battle Arsenal had to do last season. This seems to indicate some kind of policy from the PGMOL. It seems to indicate a mindset of : Refs, do your best but in case of doubt give the decisions against Arsenal.


All the numbers and decisions  of each review can be found on the website You can check us for each game that has led to these shocking numbers you have just seen. So if you cannot believe them, you can check each and every game and tell us where our qualified referees were wrong.  We have asked this all season for each review and corrected some decisions even when we made a mistake.


So you can check us on each step of the way. And if you cannot prove us that our numbers were wrong you have to accept a horrible truths:


1. It doesn’t even out for most teams.


2. There was a clear bias in favour of Manchester United last season


3. There was a horrible bias against Arsenal last season (and the season before and…)


I will show below also a summary on how many games we did of each team


games per team 2012 2013


Editorial note: if you want to comment it is perhaps worth having a look at some of the background to this research in the articles below, if you have not come across Referee Decisions before.  We have had situations in which supporters of various teams have not done this, and made comments which, in retrospect they maybe wish they hadn’t.

This entry was posted in Referee Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *