Wigan and the refs

Last season a group of qualified referees reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

Below is the review we published in the summer on Wiganand the refs.  We are publishing it again because we hope to attract more referees who are willing to monitor what the refs in the Premier League get up to.  If you would like to help us please have a look at our earlier post on our desire to recruit Wigan fans who are qualified refs to help us in this venture.

Untold Vs PGMOL - WiganAthletic 2011/2012

So Wigan is another team that we have been able to do 8 games in our reviewing system. That is 21,05% of their total games.

For those who are new to this site and if you think this is not enough: rest assured we share this view. If we would have more Wigan games on TV and if we would have a few more ref reviewers we would actually be in the possibility to do more games.

But for now we have to do it with the games we could do and let us see how the referees did their job in those games.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - WiganAthletic 2011/2012

If we look at the numbers and compare them with the overall league average we can say that these numbers are better. Short to 3% better for the unweighted decisions and short to 4% better when we put weight on the decisions.

A score of 75 looks not bad but remember this still means that 1 decision in 4 was wrong. Let us see how the decisions were made and if there are big differences to be seen.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - WiganAthletic 2011/2012

The decisions about goals are very close to the league average. An average that I think is too low.

An amazing low numbers is the offside decisions. And when reading this you may remember one game in particular. Yes Chelsea, where Chelsea managed to win with two offside goals. But just looking at that number of 78,38% correct offside decisions….what was Riley talking about when he named 99% correct?

In the other decisions in the games involving Wigan the score was better with some 4% compared to the league average.

The penalty decisions are looking great. 20% better than the league average makes them end up with a total of 82%. That is good but well not really should accept as reasonable.

The refs made a total mess of red card decisions. They didn’t get one single decision right. Not that the games were dirty or so because we only had 3 possible decisions, but all went wrong.

When we look at the yellow cards we see that this is almost the same as the league average around 56%. Too low to be good.

Let us check if we can find any bias in the wrong decisions?

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - WiganAthletic 2011/2012

The normal negative away bias is -1.826 and Wigan has a score of -2.500. So slightly worse than the league average. Nothing dramatic but still some reason for concern.

On the other hand the normal positive home bias of +1.826 is also higher for Wigan. And this results in an overall negative bias of -0.125. A small negative bias in the unweighted decisions.

If we put weight to it we see that the normal negative away bias of -2.619 is largely passed by the final score of -4.250. So if we put weight to it we see that the bias becomes a bit bigger. Meaning that some major decisions went against them in some games. The positive home bias is also a bit higher than normal.

And again this is leading to a final score of a negative bias in total of -0.125.  Looking at this number one could say that this looks close to evening out.

Let us have a look at the refs involved.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - WiganAthletic (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

We have 6 refs involved in Wigan games. With all refs one game except Martin Atkinson who did Wigan 3 times. And he managed to get a score of a positive bias of only +0.332. This indicates that he has done a great neutral job in the Wigan games. Congratulations ref Atkinson.

This cannot be said of Michael Jones who had a very negative swing in his game doing Wigan. Phil Dowd also had a rather big negative swing against Wigan.

More positive for Wigan was the performance from Mike Dean. The opposite score of Dowd. And the best ref for Wigan last season was Andre Marriner. Well in the games we reviewed that is. Let us put some weight in to the decisions.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - WiganAthletic (Weighted) 2011/2012

The scores go up most of the time if we do and this is the same. Michael Jones really was bad against Wigan and also the performance from Phil Dowd looks really out of place.

Martin Atkinson can still remain the middle man a bit but the numbers have shot up a bit.

Mike Dean has kept his position but Clattenburg has gone up a bit and scored some 4 bias points when we put weight on the decisions.

The number of Marriner didn’t change much so we can assume that his mistakes were mostly made in the middle of the field. Let us try to see some strange things when comparing the points and the referees.

PGMOL Vs WiganAthletic - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - WiganAthletic (Weighted) 2011/2012

If we look at this graphic it looks as if the refs didn’t make a big difference. The only exception is game 32 where they had a bad performance and lost the game because of 2 major mistakes from the ref.

But after Riley apologised the bias turned over just in time to save their PL status. Now don’t go down in anger because I didn’t say that they won their points because of the refs but the bias did make a swing after being robbed at Chelsea. Was it because of what Riley did or say?

Because for the rest I cannot find lots of things that indicate a positive bias in favour of Wigan. So I could say that they managed to survive in the PL on their own merit and not by the help of some referees decisions.


It looks to be a middle of the road season for Wigan. Well at the end it was.

The referees performed okay in the Wigan games. But when all the numbers are counted with a minor bias against Wigan.  But the bias swing was rather small and so we could say that in the games we reviewed some things went against them, some in their favour.

Like we have noticed before: it can even out. And this comes close to evening out over the course of a season, or better said in the games we could review.

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