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Penalties: most in Poland, fewest in Norway and England

The 300th edition of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post compares 35 European leagues according to the number of penalties per game whistled by referees since the 2017/18 season (2018 for summer leagues) as per data provided by our partners InStat. At the top of the table is the Polish Ekstraklasa (a penalty every 230 minutes), while at the opposite end is the Norwegian Eliteserien (every 389 minutes).

The Premier League (382’) and the Championship (377’) in England are the second and third leagues where the fewest penalties are whistled, which confirms the particular style of refereeing in the United Kingdom. This result can also be explained by the lower tendency of players to ‘look for fouls’. Penalties are also not whistled very often in the German Bundesliga (321’), while their frequency is much greater in the Italian Serie A (249’), the French Ligue 1 (262’) and the Spanish Liga (268’).

At club level, the Serbian side Crvena Zvezda leads the rankings with a penalty obtained every 209 minutes. Among big-5 league clubs, Lazio (296’) tops the table ahead of Paris St-Germain (319’) and Sampdoria (325’). Burnley FC is at the other end of the spectrum with only four penalties in 105 matches (every 2’362 minutes), ahead of Newcastle United (five penalties, of which only one scored) and the Norwegians of Odds BK.