" 'all the evidence' doesn't support there being any bias present in refereeing decision making"
I summarised the interview in two articles at the time. There are numerous problems with refereeing in the Premier League and it now abundantly clear that the workings of the PGMO are completely hidden from the view of the media and the public. However ignoring all the major problems with refereeing (like the lack of objective referee assessment, the lack of an open and transparent system of referee selection, and the massive potential for corruption by clubs influencing the referee selection process) for one minute, let us just analyse Riley's comments on refereeing bias.
We have numerous scientific studies that prove Mike Riley to be an idiot or a liar, either is not promising for the PL's refereeing system. Statistical reviews have shown a systematic home bias in the decisions of referees (1):
"We can confirm a systematic home bias of referees."
Excellent research in Italy proved the subconscious and conscious bias in refereeing decisions (2). The systematic home bias has also been demonstrated in Spanish football (3,4) and recently in English football by Professor Steven Dobson (5,6).
There is simply no doubt to anyone of sound mind who has read up on this issue, referees are inherently biased. At best this is just a subconscious bias in favour of home sides, but at worst if the PGMO's referee selection process is subject to influence by the clubs then the amount of bias affecting the results of games could be huge. We simply don't know because the PGMO and Premier League persistently refuse to release any meaningful information about referee assessment and selection, at the moment we are simply expected to trust that what goes on behind closed doors is perfectly fair.
Whatever the real truth behind the referee selection process in the Premier League, it is clear that Mike Riley's comments are at best ignorant and wrong, and at worst designed to hide a corrupt network of dodgy refereeing. I have very little faith in Mike Riley, the PGMO and the Premier League, there is so much money and so many vested interests at work here. Trusting these people as the vast majority of the mainstream media do appears extremely foolish and naive.
1. M Sutter and M Kochler. Favoritism of agents – The case of referees' home bias. Journal of Economic Psychology. Volume 25. Issue 4. August 2004. Pages 461-9.
2. CORRUPTION AND REFEREE BIAS IN FOOTBALL: THE CASE OF CALCIOPOLI
WALTER DISTASO, LEONE LEONIDA, DARIO MAIMONE ANSALDO PATTI AND PIETRO NAVARR. http://www-3.unipv.it/websiep/2008/200891.pdf
3. Andrés Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco Gónzalez-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola Wanden-Berghe, 2011.
"Referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," Working Papers 1119, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
4. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco González-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola, 2011.
"The importance of time in referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," FEG Working Paper Series 03/11, Faculty of Economics and Business (University of Granada).5. DAWSON, P, DOBSON, S., GODDARD, J.A. and WILSON, J., 2007. Are football referees really biased and inconsistent? Evidence from the English Premier League. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 170 (1), pp. 231-250.
6. The influence of social pressure and nationality on individual decisions: evidence from the behaviour of referees, (2010) Vol. 31 No.2 pp 181–191 (with P Dawson).