|Football Is Just A Branch Of Science|
|Written by Paddimir|
|Sunday, 22 May 2011 20:42|
A couple of years ago, I was reading Ben Goldacre's book “Bad Science” and fuming over a free-kick given against Artur Boruc while kicking the ball out against Falkirk, and wondering if refereeing bias (or the absence of it) could be measure in a scientific way, rather than just subjective debates about “paranoia” and “conspiracy”
I came up with the following idea and I've included some other ideas for improving football in Scotland with science.
In reaction to Celtic's dossier of dodgy refereeing decisions, I've seen a few people recently say "any team could come up with a list of decisions that have gone against their team". This led to me thinking "Well, could they? if they could, would all the lists be equally compelling?". It's easy to list anecdotal evidence from far-off cup finals, but is there any way to make it more scientific?
After lots and lots of ratings, each team's average number of points per incidents voted on is put in to a league table. those at the top are the teams most sinned against, and those at the bottom, those most favoured.
For people to do the rating, I would think people at five-a-side centres would do, but if you want to increase the newsworthiness, maybe people taking UEFA coaching classes would be better. but less likely to volunteer, perhaps. foreign referees would probably still back the referee, but having them as a different sample might be interesting too. This would of course involve people in said TV company going on a trip to Europe, but I don't think that should be a problem, somehow.
The results would lead to lots of discussion and hits on the relevant website I'm sure, and would actually add to the sum of human knowledge. in short, it would be a bit like hotornot.com for refereeing decisions. dallasorgallus if you will.
Until some sort of scientific measurement is attempted by the media, the words "paranoia" and "conspiracy theory" should be stricken from lexicon.
League Season Simulator
Too many things that are contentious in Scottish football are unnecessarily decided behind closed doors. This gives the impression that there are no clear rules and that decisions are open to influence. For example, who will play when, who the officials will be, and whether the season will be extended.
The rules associated with this may be complex. The weather and other postponements, the police, the TV companies, the standings at the time of the split and Scottish teams' participation in Europe. However if this isn't so complex that George Peat or Neil Doncaster can't get their head around it in a meeting, then it's not so complex that a computer can't model those rules and apply them impartially.
Rules might include “If a team gets to a European final the league will be extended by a week”.
Anyone should be able to go to the SPL website and say “if the teams are in these positions at the break what will happen” and see exactly when all the games will be played. “If the following game is postponed, when will it be replayed, and who will referee it?”.
This would stop arguments about who plays when after the split, which referees are selected for big (and small) games, and whether the league is extended, without reference to which clubs are involved. This would remove the cloud of suspicion that the decisions are influenced by begging through the press.
The Clypatron 3000
Although the police have arrested a few people for online hate crimes related to football, these represent a tiny percentage of the incidents on the web. This has led to fans forming posses (or crowd-sourcing justice) to expose the culprits in other ways. This could increase the number of prosecutions, but has downsides.
Although this often done in a responsible way, I think that when carried out more widely, any method that doesn't involve the police will be dangerous. There is always the danger of vigilantes publishing addresses, which is wrong if the person is guilty and the address is correct, and even more wrong if mistakes are made. So I've been thinking about a realistic way in which members of the public could interact with the police which wouldn't lead to a slew of tit-for-tat vexatious allegations that would lead to the police ignoring them all. If it's a free-for-all, I can imagine some sites initiating a campaign to report anyone who has ever said "hun", for example.