Premier League football fans with the most referee complaints

In the ever-unpredictable world of Premier League football, where passion runs as high as the stakes, you’ll find four appointed, as well as hundreds of thousands of unappointed, ‘officials’. Whether perched in the stadium seats, gathered at the local pub, or comfortably settled at home, fans are always chiming in and sharing their thoughts on every call the refs make.

So, we decided to survey 3,000 Premier League supporters to uncover which team is top of the league for complaining the most about officiating. Kick-off with us as we navigate through VAR controversies, offside debates, red cards, and diving tantrums.

Key findings:

  • Wolves and Everton fans lead in officiating complaints, voicing displeasure at least 4 times per game

  • Fulham and Brentford fans are the least vocal, complaining only once per game

  • Wolves supporters rate their satisfaction with their team’s officiating lowest at 3/10

  • Bournemouth, Manchester City, and Fulham fans are the happiest, scoring officiating contentment at an impressive 7/10

  • 91% of Wolves, 83% of West Ham, and 60% of Everton fans persist in complaining about officiating up to a year after the game

The premier complainers of the Premier League

Football fans, it's practically part of the sports culture to moan about the ref. Throughout the game, you get supporter commentary roasting the officials with comments such as, 'What's the ref doing?', 'Offside!', 'Book him!', amongst a few spicier comments that are too hot for print. So we thought it was time to find out which team’s fans complain the most about officiating.

The Premier League Supporters That Complain The Most About Officiating

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton supporters share the title of being the most outspoken critics of referees in the league. Both sets of fans criticize the officiating a minimum of 4 times throughout a game, resulting in a cumulative 152 complaints per season. Perhaps it's time they traded in the fan scarves for referee whistles! 

Interestingly, every team in the league cites the primary cause for their referee-related grievances is because of inconsistency in decision-making, including 68% of Wolves supporters and 65% of Everton fans.

Hot on their heels, Burnley and Arsenal supporters aren't far behind, voicing their frustration with the referee's decisions at least 3 times per game, tallying up to around 114 complaints over the season. Both teams share a common secondary grievance when it comes to their complaints about officiating – penalty decisions.

At the other end of our ref-roasting league are Fulham and Brentford fans who complain about officiating the least. Supporters from both teams admit to just 1 referee complaint per game, they must be a keeper

Officiating in the Premier League: Unraveling fan satisfaction

We also asked our respondents to rate their satisfaction with the referees officiating their teams on a scale of 0 to 10. It comes as no surprise that the fans that are the most vocal complainers, also happen to be the least satisfied with the officiating.

Premier League The Most And Least Satisfied Fans With How Their Team Has Been Officiated This Season

Everton supporters take the lead in referee discontent, with fans giving their satisfaction score a 3/10. Everton supporters are also the most likely to take their complaints to social media.  Wolves fans closely followed with 4/10.

On the other side, Bournemouth, Manchester City, and Fulham supporters are the happiest with the way their team has been officiated, scoring their contentment at an impressive 7/10. Though Brentford fans complain the least, alongside Fulham, they scored their satisfaction a slightly lower score of 6/10. It appears they prefer to keep their thoughts under wraps!

After the Whistle: How long fans continue referee complaints after the game

We were slightly shocked to discover that supporters openly admitted to still hashing out their referee grievances up to a year after a game. Talk about holding a grudge!  Noteworthy figures include a whopping 91% of Wolves supporters, 83% of West Ham fans, and 60% of Everton followers. This persistent trend underscores a common thread, highlighting that Wolves and Everton supporters truly stand out as the Premier League's most dedicated officiating critics.

Meanwhile, 96% of Fulham supporters move past disputes with officiating within a mere two days—the speediest resolution among all teams. This also aligns with their status as one of the most satisfied fan bases with referees. 


In summary, the Premier League unfolds a spectrum of post-game sentiments, where Wolves and Everton supporters emerge as the most steadfast officiating critics, engaging in discussions up to a year after matches. On the flip side Fulham, Bournemouth, and Brentford fans appear notably content with the referees in this season's matches.

Methodology: surveyed 3,000 Premier League fans to uncover their frequency of complaints about officiating. We noted their state of residence so we were able to use this to divide the data. The age range was 18+. The survey was conducted in January 2024.

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