Friday , September 29 2023
Stuart Attwell

Stuart Attwell revealed as the strictest referee in the Premier League

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  • Attwell shows a yellow for every 5.51 fouls, fewer than Mike Dean’s 5.59
  • Dean has shown more yellow cards per game in the past five years than anyone else
  • Paul Tierney awards more fouls per game than any other ref
  • Anthony Taylor has officiated more Manchester United win in the past five years than anyone else, with a 74% win rate

Stuart Attwell is officially the strictest referee in the Premier League, according to the results of a new study.

Mike Dean is widely acknowledged as the most card-happy ref in England, but while he hands out the most yellow cards per game on average, Attwell hands out more yellows per foul than anyone else.

OLBG’s latest study, Referee Rankings, has 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 broken 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.

Results show that while Dean, who has shown over 500 yellow cards more than anyone else since the beginning of the Premier League, remains the referee who reaches for his pocket most in the past five years at 1.93 yellow cards shown per game, Attwell is actually the strictest, booking a player for every 5.51 fouls per game and a total of 1.89 yellows per game.

Dean is not far away from Attwell and has a similarly short fuse with players, showing yellow for every 5.59 fouls whereas Graham Scott is the most lenient in the league currently and only shows a card for every 8.72 fouls in a game, with just 9.92 fouls per 90 minutes and a rate of just 1.14 yellow cards per game – far fewer than any of his colleagues.

Referee Overall goals per game Overall win rate Overall fouls per game Overall yellows per game Overall fouls per yellow
Andre Marriner 1.53 37.91% 9.29 1.41 6.60
Anthony Taylor 1.52 43.78% 10.87 1.70 6.41
Chris Kavanagh 1.36 42.96% 10.62 1.58 6.73
Craig Pawson 1.51 44.02% 10.99 1.74 6.32
Graham Scott 1.56 48.28% 9.92 1.14 8.72
Jon Moss 1.57 44.55% 10.94 1.72 6.35
Kevin Friend 1.47 42.17% 10.33 1.48 7.00
Lee Mason 1.63 46.34% 10.94 1.50 7.32
Martin Atkinson 1.37 42.27% 10.38 1.53 6.77
Mike Dean 1.40 41.26% 10.80 1.93 5.59
Michael Oliver 1.59 42.28% 10.88 1.59 6.86
Paul Tierney 1.40 42.03% 11.39 1.54 7.42
Stuart Attwell 1.48 41.32% 10.43 1.89 5.51

Of the teams he has officiated, Attwell punishes Tottenham more severely than any other side, giving out a card for every 3.50 fouls committed by Jose Mourinho’s side – the lowest rate in the whole division, while he favours Manchester City and allows them 21 fouls before showing a booking.


Anthony Taylor’s name often crops up when Manchester United are involved due to his Wythenshawe roots despite being an Altrincham fan, and curiously he has overseen more wins for the Red Devils in the past five years (up until the end of 2020) than any other referee, with 14 wins in 19 matches at a win rate of 74%, with 2.21 goals scored per game

However Manchester United’s fierce rivals Liverpool were next on the list, winning 68% of their games with him in charge with 13 out of 19.

Referee Rankings InfoGraphic

Mike Dean, often criticised online by large sections of the Arsenal support, actually has a favourable record when in charge of the Gunners with a 67% win rate – his joint most with Liverpool also on 67%.

Referee Rankings has broken down the performances of Mike Dean, Lee Mason, Jon Moss, Craig Pawson, Martin Atkinson, Kevin Friend, Andre Marriner, Chris Kavanagh, Stuart Attwell, Graham Scott, Anthony Taylor, Paul Tierney and Michael Oliver across five different metrics to analyse which teams they appear to punish more severely than others.



About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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