Claims that racism plays a part in the high-profile penalty decisions taken by football referees have been debunked by research from the University of Surrey.
An in-depth study has not only revealed no evidence of racism towards non-white players when a referee came to handing out yellow cards but suggests they could in reality be treated more leniently.
Dr Rob Witt, head of the university’s economics department, helped draw up the study “Disciplinary Sanctions in English Premiership Football: Is There a Racial Dimension?”
The project used five years worth of statistics held at OPTA Sportsdata headquarters in London which include the age, history and position of every player in the Premier League.
Analysis of the raw statistics showed black and mixed race players received, on average, between one quarter and one third fewer yellow cards compared to white players.
This was despite them having a higher foul count over the course of the five seasons.
The study was prompted by a previous study into the NBA in the USA, which found that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through to 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players.
Source: Daily Telegraph