Clustering English Premier League Referees Using Unsupervised Machine Learning Techniques

İspa M., Yarışan U., Kaya T.

International Conference on Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems, INFUS 2021, İstanbul, Turkey, 24 - 26 August 2021, vol.308, pp.230-237 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 308
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-3-030-85577-2_27
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.230-237
  • Keywords: Clustering, English Premier League, Football, Machine learning, Referee, Unsupervised learning
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Technological developments have affected the decision-making phase in football matches. The viewing pleasure of fans and the result of the match is a matter of debate determined by the referees. Throughout time, the objectiveness of referees was questioned by the technological tools. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is an example approach to ensure whether the referees react to similar positions of different matches in the same manner or not. One of the problems of this topic is the controversial decisions of some referees leading to unexpected results. In this research, as a different approach to the referees’ objectivity problem, referees are tried to be classified based on the statistical outcome of the matches using unsupervised machine learning techniques. Meaningful clusters should not be found to be able to state the referees are objective. This study is conducted on 10-years English Premier League between 2009–2018 data. Principal Component Analysis is going to be used for grouping the variables to perform exploratory data analysis. K-Means, hierarchical clustering, and Fuzzy C-Means are going to be used for dividing the referees into various subgroups. R programming language is used for examining data. In conclusion of the analysis, four different referee groups are defined.