Referee Review 2012/13: Norwich – more errors than acceptable

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 and reports on refs


In this part of the series we have a look at each team and see how the bias panned out for each team. This is based on the decisions themselves without putting any weight on each decision. A total table will be published at the end of this series and then you can compare each team with the other teams.

And it will be an interesting table I can assure you of that.

First we are providing a table for each team highlighting each type of decision. This gives the totals as for when the team in the article got a favourable decision and when they got it against them.

If the traditional mantra, “it all evens out at the end of the season” is true it should show in these statistics – and indeed for some clubs we have already reviewed, that is the case.

But as I said, in the table we just show the decisions as a decision and we didn’t put any weight on the decisions. That is something for later on. Now we just take each decision at the same value, which is of course not saying all because a wrong penalty call is a bit more important than a wrong throw in decision.

But now let us move to the sixth team in our survey:  Norwich

One of the things we must keep in mind is that we only managed to do 11 games when Norwich was involved. That is 28,95% of their games so one has to be careful to draw conclusions. But as we have always done it we just consider the numbers as they are and expect  them to be more or less the same as if we did all of their games.  In terms of most statistical analyses 28.95% is easily enough to make such a judgement.



In the second column we see the type of decision. And in the column “favoured” we see how many decisions favoured this team when we reviewed them.  In the column “Penalised” we see how many times a wrong decision went against them.  The total swing is the difference between the favoured decisions and the penalised decisions.

A negative number in this column means that the total was against the team and a positive number means that the total decisions was in their favour.

In the last column we see the average swing per game. Based on the games we reviewed. And this gives an indication on how many decisions went against a team or were in favour of a team. The lower the number the lower number of decisions that were wrong. And a positive number indicates that in each game they get some decisions in their favour and a negative indicates how many decisions the team has to overcome.

We had a total of 149 wrong decisions in the 11 games we did with Norwich.  That is more than 13 wrong decisions per game, almost 14. This is again one of  the highest  numbers we have seen this season. 13-14 wrong decisions on average each game. Terrible. Completely unacceptable.

Of those 149 wrong decisions we had 98 in their favour and 51 going against them. The difference is 47 decisions in favour of Norwich. And that is a rather strange number. Because this means that Norwich on average had the benefit of the wrong calls for more than four decisions each game.  This is a big difference. Inexplicably big one might be persuaded to say.

This might be fine when you get the decisions going your way but for the other teams this is a mountain to climb.

Now let us first look at the things that went against them. We see that this the 2nd yellow cards going against them but this was only one incorrect decision. And also the goal decisions. We had three wrong calls and two went against them.  This might have cost them a game or so but it are the only decisions that went against them.

But all the other decisions ended up with a bias in their favour. And the bias when we look at fouls/free kick decisions is very big.  Also the penalty decisions went mostly their way. And also the red and yellow cards went in their favour in an inexplicably big way.

Sometimes people talk about big team bias, but we cannot consider Norwich as a big team so what is the reason for this big bias?  I seem to remember a same pattern last season in our end of season review – so it is not new. What is it that the refs push to giving Norwich the benefit of the doubt on so many occasions? I don’t have a clue to be honest but surely the numbers are very strange for one of the smaller teams in the PL.

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