According to Prozone assistant referees allegedly got 99% of their decisions correct last season, apparently of the 20 or so offside decisions they make each game, they usually get all of them right. Does anyone else smell a kipper? Untold Arsenal have already commented on this data and quite rightly ridiculed it, it is nowhere near the figures they have calculated from objective analysis. It is strange that people trust the PGMO on data that is never even released beyond their own closed doors. Untold Arsenal's data tells a very different story. Only 91% of offside decisions are correct, nowhere near the 99% claimed by Riley. Only just over 20% of red card decisions are correct and just over 50% of yellow card decisions. Of all the important refereeing decisions referees only get around 65% of these correct, this is not good.
There are only 18 officials refereeing the Premier League (PL) games, not only that but the refs for each game are hand picked in a highly subjective and closed manner, and their is a huge bias in terms of where these referees come from geographically in the UK; all these factors mean that there is an incredible risk of referee selection bias altering the outcome of games in a systematic manner, ie accidental match fixing. I am amazed that the media have made so little of the so called 'Yorkshire cluster'. Mike Riley and the PGMO would do well to well to read up on 'unconscious bias theory':
"According to social psychology research, the natural human process of categorising like objects together and related cognitive biases can result in and perpetuate individuals’ implicit reliance on stereotypes. These stereotypes may then operate largely independent of the intent of an individual..........Based on empirical data measuring individuals’ implicit associations, psychologists have found that unconscious bias is quite prevalent, often in sharp contrast to individuals’ self-professed identity."
Unconscious bias theory applies as much to hiring someone for a job as it does to referees making decisions in football games, this fascinating piece of scientific research on the Italian match fixing scandal shows how unconscious and conscious effects can be spotted and analysed. The case of systematic home bias is already well proven. I would argue that there are also many other factors that will serve to bias the decision making of referees including nationality, regionality and dialect. The geographic skew in PL referees must have some effect in terms of unconscious bias at the very minimum.
Mike Riley said that 'all the evidence' doesn't support there being any bias present in refereeing decision making, strangely he can quote no evidence from the UK, only evidence from the European Championship. Mike Riley also appears unaware of the above evidence I have quoted in part 1 from the Italian scandal and concerning the undoubted home bias. I will move onto the rest of the interview and will sum up my conclusions in part 2.