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Are football referees really biased and inconsistent?: evidence on the incidence of disciplinary sanction in the English Premier League

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  • Peter Dawson
  • Stephen Dobson
  • John Goddard
  • John Wilson

Abstract

The paper presents a statistical analysis of patterns in the incidence of disciplinary sanction (yellow and red cards) that were taken against players in the English Premier League over the period 1996-2003. Several questions concerning sources of inconsistency and bias in refereeing standards are examined. Evidence is found to support a time consistency hypothesis, that the average incidence of disciplinary sanction is predominantly stable over time. However, a refereeing consistency hypothesis, that the incidence of disciplinary sanction does not vary between referees, is rejected. The tendency for away teams to incur more disciplinary points than home teams cannot be attributed to the home advantage effect on match results and appears to be due to a refereeing bias favouring the home team. Copyright 2007 Royal Statistical Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson & John Goddard & John Wilson, 2007. "Are football referees really biased and inconsistent?: evidence on the incidence of disciplinary sanction in the English Premier League," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(1), pages 231-250.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:170:y:2007:i:1:p:231-250
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    2. Jacek Rothert & Douglas N. VanDerwerken & Brice M. Nguelifack, 2016. "Does the threat of suspension curb dangerous behavior in soccer? A case study from the Premier League," Departmental Working Papers 52, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    3. Giacomo De Luca & Jeroen Schokkaert & Jo Swinnen, 2011. "Cultural Differences, Assimilation and Behavior: Player Nationality and Penalties in Football," LICOS Discussion Papers 29711, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    4. Dorian Owen, 2014. "Measurement of competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 3, pages 41-59 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Raul Caruso & Marco Di Domizio & David A. Savage, 2015. "Hic Sunt Leones! The role of national identity on aggressiveness between national football teams," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Politica Economica ispe0076, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
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    7. Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Conradie, Louis & Arezki, Rabah, 2017. "Resource discovery and the politics of fiscal decentralization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 366-382.
    8. Edoardo Gallo & Thomas Grund & J. James Reade, 2013. "Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, pages 136-156.
    9. Hlasny, V. & Kolaric, S., 2015. "Catch Me If You Can - Referee–Team Relationships and Disciplinary Cautions in Football," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 74994, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    10. Raul Caruso, 2011. "Relational Goods at Work! Crime and Sport Participation in Italy: Evidence from Panel Data Regional Analysis over the Period 1997–2003," Chapters,in: Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Bryson, Alex & Buraimo, Babatunde & Simmons, Rob, 2011. "Do salaries improve worker performance?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 424-433.
    12. Page, Katie & Page, Lionel, 2010. "Alone against the crowd: Individual differences in referees' ability to cope under pressure," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 192-199.
    13. Thomas Dohmen & Jan Sauermann, 2016. "Referee Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, pages 679-695.
    14. Frieling, Julius & Pohlkamp, Stefanie & Stöver, Jana & Vöpel, Henning, 2013. "Suarez und die "Hand Gottes": Wie fair ist Fußball?," HWWI Policy Papers 80, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    15. Raul Caruso & Marco Di Domizio, 2013. "Allo Stadio Come Alla Guerra? Ostilità Internazionale E Aggressività Sul Campo Di Calcio," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 9(2), pages 127-142, settembre.
    16. Faria, João Ricardo & Cuestas, Juan Carlos & Mourelle, Estefanía, 2010. "Entrepreneurship and unemployment: A nonlinear bidirectional causality?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, pages 1282-1291.
    17. 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).
    18. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 2011. "Disciplinary sanctions in English Premiership Football: Is there a racial dimension?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 360-370.
    19. Stephen Dobson & John Goddard, 2008. "Strategic behaviour and risk taking in football," Working Papers 2008/7, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
    20. Dobson, Stephen & Goddard, John, 2010. "Optimizing strategic behaviour in a dynamic setting in professional team sports," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, pages 661-669.
    21. Seckin, Aylin & Pollard, Richard, 2007. "Home advantage in Turkish professional soccer," MPRA Paper 14323, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2008.
    22. 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.
    23. Caruso, Raul & Di Domizio, Marco, 2013. "International hostility and aggressiveness on the soccer pitch Evidence from European Championships and World Cups for the period 2000-2012," MPRA Paper 50099, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen, 2010. "The influence of social pressure and nationality on individual decisions: Evidence from the behaviour of referees," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 181-191.
    25. Juan Carlos Cuestas & Estefania Mourelle, 2011. "Nonlinearities in real exchange rate determination: do African exchange rates follow a random walk?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(2), pages 243-258.

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