Anorak | Do referees show bias against football teams? Let’s review the data

Do referees show bias against football teams? Let’s review the data

by | 4th, December 2014

REFEREES have one of the most unenviable jobs in football. They’re there to make sure everyone adheres to the sport’s rules, stopping football from turning into free jazz. They have to do things that penalise players and teams and the fans don’t like them, as a rule, one bit.

However, most referees and officials are alright when it comes down to it.

This doesn’t stop people from believing otherwise. In the news this week, Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has had his wrists slapped for his views on football’s match officials.

He’s been fined £5,000 for accusing referees of “bias towards other teams”.

The Stoke chairman was upset with the officiating in home games against Swansea, Southampton and West Ham. Coates contested the charge, but the Football Association ruled that his comments, made to local media, brought the game into disrepute and found him guilty of improper conduct.

That all said, statistically, it does look like some referees don’t like certain teams. Let us look at them shall we?

Mike Dean




Arsenal fans don’t like Mike Dean much, as the Gunners have a very poor record when he’s officiating their games. A few years ago, Dean refereed 17 manages against Arsenal, where they won only one match in four years. If that wasn’t enough for Gooners, there was a moment in his career when he was accused of ‘celebrating’ a goal scored by Louis Saha.


Barry Knight

barry knight

In May 2000, Barry Knight wrote himself into Bolton’s history for all the wrong reasons. In a First Division play-off semi-final between Wanderers and Ipswich Town, Knight issued 12 yellow cards, two red cards and awarded three penalties against Bolton. Sam Allardyce, Gudni Bergsson and Paul Warhurst were all fined by the FA for their comments about Knight’s performance. Allardyce felt he had a point when the FA decided that Barry

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Posted: 4th, December 2014 | In: Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink