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30th Mar 2021

New study reveals most card happy referees in football

Reuben Pinder

Long live Mike Dean

Mike Dean is the most card happy referee in the Premier League, a new study has revealed. This will not shock anyone who has watched Premier League football for the past 20 years, and seen the glee with which he brandishes a card, but it’s nice to have it backed up by science.

The study conducted by OLBG, Referee Rankings, analysed every Premier League game officiated by the top 13 officials in the top flight over the past five seasons involving teams currently in the league, and broke each referee’s record down by goals per game, win rates, fouls per game, cards per game and fouls per card shown to show which referees rank best for each side.

The results show that Stuart Attwell is the strictest referee in the league, showing a yellow card for every 5.51 fouls, which is fewer than Mike Dean, who shows a yellow card every 5.9 fouls.

However, Mike Dean has shown more yellow cards in the last five years than any other referee, with more than 500 yellow cards dished out in that time frame.

The stats also show that Graham Scott is the most lenient referee in the top flight, showing a card for every 8.72 fouls in a game. Scott also awards the second fewest fouls, at just 9.92 per game, with only Andre Marriner awarding fewer, at 9.29.

Interestingly, the research showed Mike Dean oversaw the more Arsenal wins that any other side, with a 67 per cent “win rate” when officiating games featuring Arsenal, despite the heavy criticism he is often subject to from Gunners fans.

This finding in particular should not be read as reason to believe Dean is consciously or subconsciously biased towards Arsenal, though. Referees are not biased towards or against your club. It’s a coincidence.