Here’s a quick look at some referee statistics from the 2012-2013 Premier League season. The table below presents data on the average number of yellow cards distributed per games by the sixteen Premier League referees. The data covers 373 games last season, excluding the games refereed by referees Roger East (5), Robert Madley (1) and Craig Pawson (1).
It’s interesting that the two oldest referees in the league are found to be the most lenient. Maybe this is because they have mellowed in their ‘old age’ or believe they command the respect of players, without requiring enforcement.
What’s even more interesting is that the 3rd and 4th most lenient referees are the two youngest; Michael Oliver (28) and Anthony Taylor (35).
This suggests a non-linear effect is at play. Maybe younger referees are less likely to book players out of inexperience, whilst older refs could feel they can control the game without the need for additional punishment. The plot thickens.