Friday 6 January 2012

Mike Riley - the 'right refs for the right games' - part 1

Apparently refereeing is getting better year on year, according to Mike Riley that is, and that's how he started off his interview with the BBC's Mark Chapman last night on Radio 5 Live.  It's just a shame that no one outside the PGMO gets to see any data that would back these confident claims up.

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.


Anonymous said...

The right Ref can only be cameras / video evidence! Far to long the men in black have been deciding the outcome of very important games which is absolutely silly in this modern age.

It will take a few seconds to get a true verdict, but the idiots that Govern football chose to live with the wrongful decisions week on week. Now the true losers are the fans that have paid their hard earned cash to witness the weekly comedy of errors by the "MEN in BLACK" called Refs:

Anonymous said...

Time for the FA and the world body of Football to grow up!

Bring in the cameras.

The technology is already there! USE IT!

How many more teams will be cheated again before this season is concluded. The best Ref is the camera take it from the BEARMAN!

Anonymous said...

At the end of every week there should be a discussion on the controversial incidents.Some refs give a penalty for shirt tugging and some don't.Refs should explain their decisions otherwise they could be the ones deciding the outcome. There are other incidents worthy of mention.
Btw the cl refs clamp down on tackles which epl think is normal and that is why many footballers are getting injured.

bradster said...

Be nice to see that the board of referees actually had a disciplinary code. I'm from South africa and we were robbed in the Rugby world cup by Brice Lawrence. After his woeful performance he was banned from refereeing international games and some domestic games too.

Fully agree with a "third umpire" tv ref for decisions that can affect the result of a game and it does not take long for a decision. I also feel that injury time should be abandoned and finish as the buzzer goes like ice hockey or rugby.

Anonymous said...

I have been complaining abot Refs for many years and I honestly think Arsenal in particular would have won a few more trophies if we had been given fair Decisions.

Its not just Referees who imo are dubious but the Media too. I even read our own fans mentioning Wengers Country of birth when mentioning his name. We are seen as a French Team by many more than most of us would believe.

We are also Cockneys to which most Northerners detest, trust me I spent years as a Steward on the old Clock End and can tell many stories about Northerners.

I also dont understand how SAF...... Red nose gets to talk to Opposition Managers up North prior to matches against his Team. Kean from Blackburn being the last culprit although astonishingly they actually beat them.

Theres Allardyce and his golf sessions with the Red nose telling him we dont like it up us. All his former players and colleagues from the Scottish region all have friendly dialect with him.

In London there seems a big hatred between our local rivals and GG once said if you win the Lonndon mini league you will probably win the Prem. I dont see this hatred up North. The hatred is directed South at us Southern softies from London, and the reason Arsenal in particular are targeted is because we ARE the most successful side outside of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

I totally believe that our League is as crooked as the Italian League was before they did something about it. Ky have a big influence and are the reason the all conquering Mancs are at the summit even when they have dog average players in their team.

This season alone I think that Citeh,the Chavs and Spuds us and Liverpool have better teams than them but they still sit second in the League. Those European results were no fluke. They are very average at the moment and are on the last of the media darlings still playing there like Giggs, Ferdinand and Rooney. These over rated players get away with murder on a football pitch with Referees.

Thomas - Once a Gunner Forever a Gunner said...

Strongly agree that it is time to introduce more technology to help referees make wiser decisions.

Maybe the reserve referee should have access to the live videos and cameras during the match. If the referee on the pitch cannot see clearly what has happened, he should contact the reserve referee and ask for help rather than make stupid decisions.

For example, just look at the number of penalties (that are not penalties at all) awarded to Man United at old Trafford for the last decade.

Anonymous said...

If there were more southern ref's I am in no doubt that man utd would have won fewer titles.

Anonymous said...

'The right refs for the right games' - who does Riley (once refereeing's Mr Bean) think he's kidding?

What is Arsenal's record, in terms of points and disciplinary sanctions in games controlled (pun intended) by Phil Dowd?

How did Lee Probert's performance in Arsenal v Fulham, which plumbed the very depths of ineptitude, justify either Riley's 'strategy' or the referee's own right to appear at the top of the professional game?

Why is Clattenburg, scheduled for Arsenal v Leeds United, so inconsistent that he sometimes gives the impression of making the Laws up as he goes along?

Why does Peter Walton, who must be practically in his dotage, seem to believe that Frank Lampard has special dispensation to make tackles that would mean instant dismissal for most other players and escape with a yellow card?

How can Atkinson be so incompetent that he books the wrong player?

When will Atwell have a good enough game to suggest that he belongs as a referee in the EPL?

And do those who were surprised that Howard Webb was not given some recognition in the New Year's Honours List for services to Manchester United have a point?

So, Mr Bean, do we actually have one outstanding referee on the elite list? The nearest I can get is Mike Dean.