2015 HOME UMPIRING BIAS – FINAL

After the near hysteria from Victorian media that followed North Melbourne’s trip to Perth and the umpiring there, I thought it an apt time to publish the final full-season umpiring results of Home and Away games.  As with the North Melbourne-Eagles game where the Vics focused on a free kick that certainly should have been paid to North for a trip near goal, yet ignored the free kicks not paid to Josh Kennedy early where he was clearly held without the ball near the goal line, Vics usually think their teams get terrible deals when they play interstate but look only at what happens to them. The table below again shows that while the Home team always gets the best deal, Vic teams get a better deal than non-Vic teams.

However the prelim finals did confirm that The Eagles are the most umpire rewarded team in the game but also that the rest of interstate teams, especially the Dockers and Sydney, get some of the worst deals. So here you go footballing tragics two tables, one showing the AVERAGE percentage of frees paid to Home and Away teams over the entire season, the other showing those games where there are SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES in a game in frees between the two teams involved.

% of frees over 2015 seasonHOME V VIC TEAMSHOME V NON-VIC TEAMSAWAY V VIC TEAMSAWAY V NON-VIC TEAMS
VIC TEAMS (and neutral home state)50545048
NON-VIC TEAMS52534647

TABLE 1 ABOVE SHOWS THE PERCENTAGE OF FREES AWARDED TO TEAMS ON AVERAGE FOR THE SEASON.

It can be seen that when same-city teams play one another the frees pan out 50/50. Almost all of these games are between Vic Teams in Victoria. When Vic Teams host Non Vic Teams however the frees in their favour jump, and while frees in favour of Non-Vic Teams are also greater when they host Vic teams, the advantage is nowhere near as high. (52% as against 54%)This is shown even more graphically in TABLE 2 BELOW.

TABLE 2 looks only at games where there were significantly more free kicks to one team than the other. Significant has been defined as 58% of free kicks or more in THAT PARTICULAR GAME.

Here you can see that Vic teams playing each other have virtually no difference. However in significant games in Victoria between Vic Home sides and Non-Vic Away sides it is a different story. Of the 16 significant games played 12 went in favour of the Vic teams only 4 in favour of the visitor!

Victorian media always claim that the same happens to them when they play away but THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Only 11 games had a significant free kick difference of those 7 went in favour of the Non-Vic Home Team. So yes, the Non-Vic teams have a home advantage when playing Vic teams but nowhere near as great as Victorian home teams.

When Non-Vic Teams have to play away to other Non-Vic Teams they fare even worse. The count is 0-6 in favour of the home Non-Vic Team.

Games where there were significant differences between frees in favourHOME V VIC TEAMSHOME V NON-VIC TEAMSAWAY V VIC TEAMSAWAY V NON VIC TEAMS
VIC TEAMS1212104
NON VIC TEAMS7640

I have been looking at these statistics for around 9 years and they are pretty consistent. The Home side is always favoured but Vic sides playing away don’t get anywhere near as bad a deal as Non-Vic sides playing away.

When one considers that the EAGLES topped the significant game list with +7 (ie: 7 more games where they had significant frees in their favour) it shows how badly the other non-Vic teams fared. Sydney and Fremantle are generally on the bad end of the umpiring and this year was no different with Swans -4 and Fremantle -3 in significant games. St Kilda and Geelong were also -4 teams while Richmond was the favoured Vic team with +5.

For those Vic fans thinking their team is hard done by in the West look at some of the games played in Vic this year and the free kick differential HAW 21 V FRE 12, CARL 24 v PORT 10, COLL 24 v EAGLES 8, WB 25 v FRE 11. Last year Fremantle played a game where they received 4 free kicks in total against the Bulldogs. Hmmm, count yourselves lucky Vic fans and let’s not mention that if your team makes it to the Grand Final you get a game in your state, even if you don’t rank #1.

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