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HK Ref

In Graham Poll’s biography, he mentioned Pierluigi Collina used to receive player’s shirts quite regularly (and even directly asked players for their shirts). Poll also tried to “get in on this act” and, if memory serves, once asked Zinedine Zidane for his shirt in a match Poll was refereeing. Poll even described making sure he was close to Zidane when he blew for the end of the match! How calculating! It was also made clear that this was not “shirt swapping” but “shirt collecting”. Any (further) thoughts on this please?

IMHO, I would prefer it if referees act, and are seen to act, with impartiality, honesty and integrity. Is there a solution to referees receiving gifts? For instance in other professions, these things have to be declared and it is up to the relevant authorities or companies to decide what constitutes conflict of interest and ‘accepted’ policy.

I am not aware of the reasons why the US does not have a representative at the 2010 World Cup. Are there any links that give a reliable explanation of the circumstances please?

S Smith

Disclaimer: I'm a villa fan.

Whether "the big 4" (or the galaxy in the MLS) get favorable calls because the referee is bribed (which I do not believe) or influenced by media, "star power," or cowardice, makes little practical difference to the team harmed by a less than even handed match.

There was a study done a few years ago in Bundislega that home teams did in fact get more PK's than visitors and more added time when trailing.

I think the point is that referees are human and therefore subject to human pressures and subtle, unconscious, biases and influence. Those influences are more likely to benefit home teams, and teams/players with "star" reputations. I wonder what can be done to reduce the impact of those influences which I think we all agree exist?


Indeed, there are several studies that showed favourtism under social pressure, especially time added if the match was close (1 goal difference in score)

However, the onset of professional salaries an d pro pay for these English refs in particular in the Premiership indicate, on empirical evidence, that no favouritism exist as compared to the non-salaried referees in lower leagues and pre-2001, when pro structures & pay were introduced for referees.

Rickmann & Witt (CEPR, University of Surrey, 2005) studied the effects of professional referees on an established measure of referee bias: length of injury time in close matches. They find that referees
exercised favouritism PRIOR to referee professionalism but not afterwards in the English League. The results are
consistent with a financial incentive effect as a result of professional
referees and indicate that subtle aspects of principal-agent relationships (such as favouritism) are amenable to contractual influence, ie pro salaries.


Will Martin

sent you an email with an article done by an academic.

hope you find it interesting

Ed Bellion

In our book, we mention some studies that appeared to show some influence of crowds on decisions, but this is not bias. If indeed there were any evidence of bias over a few seasons, it would be expected that the media would have found it out by now and brought it into the open. Whilst I understand that nothing can be proved by a negative, this would tend to indicate that no bias has been detected so far.

The only recent evidence regarding added time concerned Manchester United, where a small study seemed to show that more time was added when Man U were losing or in a tie than when they were winning. However,the difference was small and I don't think the results were subjected to rigorous statistical analysis.


Robert Evans


Thanks for the article. I plan to study it and perhaps use it later.


du doan worldcup

sent you an email with an article done by an academic.

du doan bong da

I am not aware of the reasons why the US does not have a representative at the 2010 World Cup. Are there any links that give a reliable explanation of the circumstances please?

Check out threads on SocRef and BigSoccer. RE


The possibility of bias and unethical treatment, for the sake of stating it, exists in its greatest (and worst) form, in the NCAA.

The available match fees in college are among the highest fees paid to soccer referees in the USA (comparable to USSF 2 and only less than MLS).

The fact that college coaches can directly control whether or not a referee may return to a given school can create a significant home bias, especially when out of area or out of conference teams play at a school within a referee's driving distance.

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