Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, the eventual Champions and perceived “Bigger” clubs have always seemed to benefit from refereeing decisions. Referees could be in the pockets of the games governing bodies who strive to have successful clubs in major European competitions. They want the big clubs to be competing and winning at this elite level.
Is it therefore any surprise to see the smaller clubs always bemoaning decisions that have gone against them? The comments often lead to fines and touchline bans and form part of the spectacle.
This directly questions the integrity of the referees and by inference the integrity of the parent associations. Furthermore, it questions whether referees are also influenced by home crowds. Penalty stats are quite interesting as they would fall into such a category.
Over the last 6 seasons the big 6 (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs have averaged 6.5 penalties per season, whilst the remaining 14 teams have averaged under 4.
The only season that saw the lower teams average more penalties than the big 6 was 2015/2016 and Leicester City won the title.
Next season will see VAR ensure that important match changing decisions are correct in the majority of cases and level the playing field for the smaller clubs. Although not full proof, it will address the issues of offside, red cards, penalties (interesting to see on field penalties for diving) and mistaken identity. Add this to goal line technology and we should see the correct result on the day ensuring proper points allocation.