The Discipline of Three Leading Teams in European Football League Competitions 2014-2015



I have been interested in officiating behaviours and fair play in sport for as long as I can remember. This European football season (2014-2015) I have been looking at fouls and cards in the English Premier League.

This post compares Chelsea’s performance with the leaders of two other European football leagues, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

I have used secondary data from the website for this post.



Chelsea‘s Premier League status is:


Chelsea are 7 points ahead of Arsenal having played one game less.

This season, Chelsea have played seven games in which they were awarded no cards (5 home games and 2 away games). Chelsea have won six of these games and drawn the seventh.

Chelsea‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:

C01There are seven games in which Chelsea has received more cards than their opponents. These appear above the line in the chart.

Bayern Munich


Bayern Munich‘s Bundesliga position is:


Bayern are 10 points ahead of Wolfsburg.

This season Bayern have played in thirteen games in which they have not received a card (8 home and 5 away). They have won 11 of these games, drawn 1 (v Koln away) and lost 1 (v Borussia Moenchengladbach at home).

Bayern‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:

BM01There have been only five games in which Bayern has received more cards than their opponents. Two of the five games have been draws, one away and one at home).

Paris Saint-Germain


Paris Saint-Germain‘s Ligue 1 position is:


They are one point ahead of Lyon.

Paris Saint-Germain have played in 3 games in which they have received no cards. They have won all three games (two at home and one away). All three games took place in the first half of the Ligue 1 season.

Paris Saint-Germain‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:

PSG01Paris Saint-Germain have played in 16 games where they have received more cards than their opponents. Four of these games have ended as home draws, 4 as away draws, and 2 as away losses. (On the other six occasions, Paris Saint-Germain have won at home 5 times and away once.)


Chelsea and Bayern Munich have comprehensive seven and ten-point leads in their respective leagues. Paris Saint-Germain are involved in a much closer contest.

Bayern’s discipline is very impressive. Their 13 games without cards raises some fascinating issues about their approach to football and officiating in the Bundesliga.

Chelsea are much closer to Bayern’s pattern of discipline than to Paris Saint Germain’s. Chelsea’s middle third of the season was particularly impressive. They had a run of 13 games in which their opponents were carded more than they were. Ironically, they lost their only two games of the season in this period both away from home (versus Newcastle and Tottenham).

I do think there are some important lessons here for game management by coaches and players. Paris Saint-Germain’s season leads to some interesting questions about their approach to games and to officiating in Ligue 1.

As well as the general trends in these data, there are some great opportunities for phenomenographic study of specific games.


There is a mindmap to accompany this post. It can be found here.

Photo Credits

München 11-2014 (117) (Armin Rodler, CC BY-NC 2.0)

QPR 0 Chelsea 1 (cfcunofficial, CC BY-SA 2.0)

München 11-2014 (116) (Armin Rodler, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Maxwell, Javier Pistore, David Luiz and Thiago Silva gather round the ball ahead of a free kick (Ben Sutherland, CC BY 2.0)

Decision Support and Moral Dilemma


One of the characteristics of performance analysis is that it has the potential to inform strategic and tactical decision making.

I read with interest an observation made by Mahela Jayawardene after the fifth ODI against England this week. He made the observation in the context of the run out of Jos Buttler.

Mahela is quoted in a Cricinfo article:

We analysed our game after Lord’s. They took 22 twos in the last 12 overs. Ravi Bopara and him (Jos Buttler) ran riot. And most of the time they were taking starts that are not legal by the written laws. We just wanted to make sure we got a fair chance.

Law 42.15 of the game of Cricket states: “The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker.”

However, the rules under which international cricket takes place (ICC playing conditions) differ from the Laws of the game. The ICC’s playing regulation 42.11 (which replaces Law 42.15) states: “The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal dead ball as soon as possible.”

The Sri Lankan analysis of run scoring in the fourth ODI v England highlighted an important performance issue in the closing overs of a closely contested game.

The data give opportunities to consider how to respond if the situation arises again.

In the 44th over of game 5, Sachithra Senanayake removed the bails midway through his bowling action and appealed for the dismissal of Jos Buttler. He was given out by the umpires after they had given the Sri Lankan captain the opportunity to withdraw the appeal.

The moral dilemma here, if there is one, is the concept of ‘the Spirit of the Game’.

In the Preamble to the Laws of the Game it states “Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game”. The Preamble adds “Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself. The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains”.

When we analyse performance, and offer our data to coaches, captains and players, do we have any professional responsibility for how the data are used? Do we act as custodians of a spirit too?

Photo Credit

Cricket (Tim Welbourn, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Referees at the 2014 FIFA World Cup



Four years ago, I tracked the performance of twenty-four referees at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA has announced a pool of 33 referees for the 2014 World Cup. Included in this number are eight standby referees. The final list of 25 referees and their assistants was derived from 52 officials and their assistants.

Five of the officials on this final list were at the 2010 World Cup: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Yuichi Nishimura (Japan), Howard Webb (England),  Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), and Peter O’Leary (New Zealand). Howard Webb refereed the Final between the Netherlands and Spain.

The youngest referee at the 2014 World Cup, Alioum Alioum (Cameroon) was born in 1982. The four oldest referees were born in 1970: Roberto Salazar (Panama); Pedro Proenca (Portugal); Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria); and Noumandiez Doue (Côte d’Ivoire).

Refereeing at the 2014 World Cup

The referees at the 2014 World Cup have been:

Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)

Brazil v Croatia (Group A) (Match 1)

4 goals, 26 fouls (Brazil 5, Croatia 21), 4 yellow cards (Brazil 2, Croatia 2)

Wilmar Roldan (Colombia)

Mexico v Cameroon (Group A) (Match 2)

1 goal, 23 fouls (Mexico 11, Cameroon 12), 2 yellow cards (Mexico 1, Cameroon 1)

Korea Republic v Algeria (Group H) (Match 32)

6 goals, 29 fouls (16 Korea Republic, 13 Algeria), 3 yellow cards (2 Korea Republic, 1 Algeria).

Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)


Spain v Netherlands (Group B) (Match 3)

6 goals, 23 fouls (Spain 5, Netherlands 18), 4 yellow cards (Spain 1, Netherlands 3)

Nigeria v Argentina (Group F) (Match 43)

5 goals, 23 fouls (17 Nigeria, 6 Argentina), 2 yellow cards (2 Nigeria).

Argentina v Belgium (Match 60)

1 goal, 25 fouls (11 Argentina, 14 Belgium), 3 yellow cards (1 Argentina, 2 Belgium).

Germany v Argentina (Match 64)

1 goal, 36 fouls (20 Germany, 16 Argentina), 4 yellow cards (2 Germany, 2 Argentina).

Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast)

Chile v Australia (Group B) (Match 4)

4 goals, 27 fouls conceded (Chile 9, Australia 18), 4 yellow cards (Chile 1, Australia 3).

Ecuador v France (Group E) (Match 42)

0 goals, 23 fouls (17 Ecuador, 6 France), 1 yellow card (Ecuador), 1 red card (Ecuador).

Mark Geiger (USA)

Colombia v Greece (Group C) (Match 5)

3 goals, 33 fouls (19 Colombia, 14 Greece), 3 yellow cards (1 Colombia, 2 Greece).

Spain v Chile (Group B) (Match 19)

2 goals, 29 fouls (14 Spain, 15 Chile), 3 yellow cards (1 Spain, 2 Chile)

France v Nigeria (Match 53)

2 goals, 27 fouls (12 France, 15 Nigeria), 1 yellow card (France).

Felix Brych (Germany)

Uruguay v Costa Rica (Group D) (Match 6)

4 goals, 38 fouls (20 Uruguay, 18 Costa Rica), 3 yellow cards (3 Uruguay), 1 red card (Uruguay).

Belgium v Russia (Group H) (Match 31)

1 goal, 23 fouls (14 Belgium, 9 Russia), 3 yellow cards (2 Belgium, 1 Russia).

Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)

England v Italy (Group D) (Match 8)

3 goals, 20 fouls (8 England, 12 Italy), 1 yellow card (England).

Switzerland v France (Group E) (Match 25)

7 goals, 28 fouls (12 Switzerland, 16 France), 1 yellow card (France).

Colombia v Uruguay (Match 50)

2 goals, 36 fouls (19 Colombia, 17 Uruguay), 3 yellow cards (1 Colombia, 2 Uruguay).

Enrique Osses (Chile)

Cote d’Ivoire v Japan (Group C) (Match 6)

3 goals, 25 fouls (12 Cote d’Ivoire, 13 Japan), 4 yellow cards (2 Cote d’Ivoire, 2 Japan).

Italy v Costa Rica (Group D) (Match 24)

1 goal, 34 fouls (10 Italy, 24 Costa Rica), 2 yellow cards (1 Italy, 1 Costa Rica).

Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)

Switzerland v Ecuador (Group E) (Match 9)

3 goals, 24 fouls (9 Switzerland, 15 Ecuador), 2 yellow cards (1 Switzerland, 1 Ecuador).

Croatia v Mexico (Group A) (Match 34)

4 goals, 30 fouls (18 Croatia, 12 Mexico), 3 yellow cards (1 Cratia, 2 Mexico), 1 red card (Croatia).

United States v Germany (Group G) (Match 45)

1 goal, 24 fouls (15 US, 9 Germany), 3 yellow cards (2 US, 1 Germany).

Netherlands v Costa Rica (Match 59)

0 goals, 28 fouls (15 Netherlands, 13 Costa Rica), 6 yellow cards (2 Netherlands, 4 Costa Rica).

Sandro Ricci (Brazil)

France v Honduras (Group E) (Match 10)

3 goals, 27 fouls (13 France, 14 Honduras), 5 yellow cards (3 France, 2 Honduras), 1 red card (after second yellow card) (Honduras).

Germany v Ghana (Group G) (Match 29)

4 goals, 28 fouls (11 Germany, 17 Ghana), 1 yellow card (Ghana).

Germany v Algeria (Match 54)

3 goals, 31 fouls (11 Germany, 20 Algeria), 2 yellow cards (1Germany, 1 Algeria).

 Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)

Argentina v Bosnia & Herzegovina (Group F) (Match 11)

3 goals, 24 fouls (10 Argentina, 14 Bosnia & Herzegovina), 2 yellow cards (1 Argentina, 1 Bosnia & Herzegovina).

Japan v Greece (Group C) (Match 22)

0 goals, 41 fouls (23 Japan, 18 Greece), 5 yellow cards (1 Japan, 4 Greece), 1 red card (following a second yellow card) (Greece).

Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

Germany v Portugal (Group G) (Match 13)

4 goals, 19 fouls (8 Germany, 11 Portugal), 1 yellow card (Portugal), 1 red card (Portugal).

Argentina v Iran (Group F) (Match 27)

1 goal, 22 fouls (8 Argentina, 14 Iran). 2 yellow cards (2 Iran).

Carlos Vera (Ecuador)

Iran v Nigeria (Group F) (Match 12)

0 goals, 34 fouls (18 Iran, 16 Nigeria), 1 yellow card (Iran).

Greece v Cote d’Ivoire (Group C) (Match 38)

3 goals, 36 fouls (13 Greece, 23 Cote d’Ivoire), 3 yellow cards (3 Cote d’Ivoire).

Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

Ghana v United States (Group G) (Match 14)

3 goals, 22 fouls (10 Ghana, 12 USA), 2 yellow cards (Ghana).

Cameroon v Brazil (Group A) (Match 33)

5 goals, 33 fouls (14 Cameroon, 19 Brazil), 3 yellow cards (3 Cameroon).

Argentina v Switzerland (Match 55)

1 goal, 47 fouls (19 Argentina, 28 Switzerland), 5 yellow cards (3 Argentina, 2 Switzerland).

Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)

Belgium v Algeria (Group H) (Match 15)

3 goals, 38 fouls (20 Belgium, 18 Algeria), 2 yellow cards (1 Belgium, 1 Algeria).

Italy v Uruguay (Group D) (Match 39)

1 goal, 39 fouls (19 Italy, 20 Uruguay), 4 yellow cards (2 Italy, 2 Uruguay), 1 red card (Italy).

Brazil v Germany (Match 61)

8 goals, 25 fouls (11 Brazil, 14 Germany), 1 yellow card (Brazil).

Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

Brazil v Mexico (Group A) (Match 17)

0 goals scored, 31 fouls (13 Brazil, 18 Mexico), 4 yellow cards (2 Brazil, 2 Mexico).

Algeria v Russia (Group H) (Match 48)

2 goals, 29 fouls (15 Algeria, 14 Russia), 5 yellow cards (3 Algeria, 2 Russia)

Argentina v Netherlands (Match 62)

0 goals, 25 fouls (15 Netherlands, 10 Argentina), 3 yellow cards (2 Netherlands, 1 Argentina)

Nestor Pitana (Argentina)

Russia v Korea Republic (Group H) (Match 16)

2 goals, 22 fouls (15 Russia, 7 Korea Republic), 4 yellow cards (1 Russia, 3 Korea Republic).

Honduras v Switzerland (Group E) (Match 41)

3 goals, 35 fouls (17 Honduras, 18 Switzerland), 1 yellow card (Honduras).

USA v Portugal (Group H) (Match 30)

4 goals, 25 fouls (11 USA, 14 Portugal), 1 yellow card (USA).

France v Germany (Match 57)

1 goal, 33 fouls (15 France, 33 Germany), 2 yellow cards (2 Germany)

Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria)

Australia v Netherlands (Group B) (Match 20)

5 goals, 43 fouls (18 Australia, 25 Netherlands), 2 yellow cards (1 Australia, 1 Netherlands)

Costa Rica v England Group D (Match 40)

0 goals, 34 fouls (17 Costa Rica, 17 England), 3 yellow cards (1 Costa Rica, 2 England).

Belgium v United States (Match 56)

3 goals, 38 fouls (27 Belgium, 11 USA), 2 yellow cards (1 Belgium, 1 USA).

Brazil v Netherlands (Match 63)

3 goals, 36 fouls (16 Brazil, 20 Netherlands), 5 yellow cards (3 brazil, 2 Netherlands).

Pedro Proenca (Portugal)

Cameroon v Croatia (Group A) (Match 18)

4 goals, 20 fouls (11 Cameroon, 9 Croatia), 1 yellow card (Croatia), 1 red card (Cameroon).

Japan v Colombia (Group C) (Match 37)

5 goals, 29 fouls (10 Japan, 19 Colombia), 2 yellow cards (1 Japan, 1 Colombia).

Netherlands v Mexico (Match 51)

3 goals, 20 fouls (8 Netherlands, 12 Mexico), 3 yellow cards (3 Mexico).

Howard Webb (England)

Colombia v Cote d’Ivoire (Group C) (Match 21)

3 goals, 25 fouls (11 Colombia, 14 Cote d’Ivoire), 2 yellow cards (2 Cote d’Ivoire).

Brazil v Chile (Match 49)

2 goals, 51 fouls (28 Brazil, 23 Chile), 7 yellow cards (4 Brazil, 3 Chile).

Carlos Carballo (Spain)

Uruguay v England (Group D) (Match 23)

3 goals, 29 fouls (17 Uruguay, 12 England), 2 yellow cards (1 Uruguay, 1 England).

Bosnia & Herzegovina v Iran (Group F) (Match 44)

4 goals, 37 fouls (20 Bosnia & Herzegovina, 17 Iran(, 2 yellow cards (1 Bosnia & Herzegovina, 1 Iran).

Brazil v Colombia (Match 58)

3 goals, 54 fouls (31 Brazil, 23 Colombia), 4 yellow cards (2 Brazil, 2 Colombia).

Ben Williams (Australia)

Honduras v Ecuador (Group E) (Match 26)

3 goals, 32 fouls (15 Honduras, 17 Ecuador), 5 yellow cards (2 Honduras, 3 Ecuador).

Korea Republic v Belgium (Group H) (Match 47)

1 goal, 27 fouls (16 Korea, 11 Belgium), 2 yellow cards (1 Korea, 1 Belgium), 1 red card (Belgium).

Costa Rica v Greece (Match 52)

2 goals, 39 fouls (23 Costa Rica, 16 Greece), 6 yellow cards (4 Costa Rica, 2 Greece), 1 red card after second yellow card (Costa Rica).

Peter O’Leary (New Zealand)

Nigeria v Bosnia & Herzegovina (Group F) (Match 28)

1 goal, 16 fouls (9 Nigeria, 7 Bosnia & Herzegovina), 2 yellow cards (1 Nigeria, 1 Bosnia & Herzegovina).

Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)

Australia v Spain (Group B) (Match 35)

3 goals, 23 fouls (14 Australia, 9 Spain), 3 yellow cards (2 Australia, 1 Spain).

Portugal v Ghana (Group G) (Match 46)

3 goals, 37 fouls (21 Portugal, 16 Ghana), 4 yellow cards (1Portugal, 3 Ghana).

Bakary Gassama (Gambia)

Netherlands v Chile (Group B) (Match 36)

2 goals, 40 fouls (26 Netherlands, 14 Chile), 2 yellow (1 Netherlands, 1 Chile).

Referees Remaining in Brazil after the Quarter Finals

FIFA announced on 7 July which referees would stay at the Tournament after the Quarter Finals.

Staying in Brazil:
1. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
2. Yuichi Nishimura (JPN)

1. Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
2. Benjamin Williams (AUS)
3. Alireza Faghani (IRN)

Staying in Brazil:
1. Noumandiez Doue (CIV)
2. Djamel Haimoudi (ALG)

1. Bakary Gassama (GAM)
2. Néant Alioum (CMR)

Staying in Brazil:
1. Mark Geiger (USA)
2. Marco Rodríguez (MEX)

1. Joel Aguilar (SLV)
2. Walter López (GUA)
3. Roberto Moreno (PAN)

Staying in Brazil:
1. Enrique Osses (CHI)
2. Sandro Ricci (BRA)
3. Carlos Vera (ECU)

1. Néstor Pitana (ARG)
2. Wilmar Roldán (COL)
3. Víctor Carrillo (PER)

Peter O’Leary (NZL)
Norbert Hauata (TAH)

Staying in Brazil:
1. Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
2. Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
3. Pedro Proença (POR)
4. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
5. Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
6. Howard Webb (ENG)

1. Felix Brych (GER)
2. Björn Kuipers (NED)
3. Milorad Mažić (SRB)
4. Svein Oddvar Moen

Photo Credit

England vs Algeria 2010 (mikkelz, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Nicola Rizzoli (The Third Team)