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Rob Styles

Rob Styles
Full name Robert Styles
Born (1964-04-21) 21 April 1964
Waterlooville, Hampshire, England
Other occupation Judge
Years League Role
1987–? Wessex League Referee
Isthmian League Referee
1996–2000 The Football League Referee
2000–2009 Premier League Referee
Years League Role
2002–2009 FIFA listed Referee

Robert Styles (born 21 April 1964[1]) is an English football Referee from Waterlooville, Hampshire, who officiated in the FA Premier League, and for FIFA. He has now retired.


  • Career 1
  • Controversies 2
    • Liverpool v Chelsea, Premier League, 2007-08 2.1
    • Birmingham City v. Manchester City, Premier League, 2007-08 2.2
    • Manchester United v. Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, 2008-09 2.3
    • Newcastle United v. Manchester City, Premier League, 2008-09 2.4
    • West Bromwich Albion v. Manchester United, Premier League, 2008-09 2.5
  • Career statistics 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Styles began refereeing in 1987, officiating in the Wessex League and then the Isthmian League before being appointed to the National List of referees in 1996.[1] The year 2000 was a busy one for Styles. He handled a Football League First Division play-off semi-final, and a Second Division play-off semi-final, plus the Second Division play-off final itself, between Wigan Athletic and Gillingham at Wembley, which ended 2–3 after extra time.[2] He was also fourth official for both the Football League Trophy final of that year between Stoke City and Bristol City, and the 2000 FA Trophy Final, when Kingstonian beat Kettering Town 3–2.[1]

His promotion to the Premier League list also happened in the year 2000, and his first match in the top group was the 1–0 win by Leicester City at West Ham United on 23 August 2000, Darren Eadie scoring the goal.[3] He became a FIFA referee in 2002.[1]

He was referee for the 2003 FA Youth Cup Final when Manchester United beat Middlesbrough 3–1.[4] However, his highest honour was his selection as referee for the 2005 FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, between Arsenal and Manchester United, which the Gunners won 5–4 on penalties after a 0–0 draw following extra time.[5]


Liverpool v Chelsea, Premier League, 2007-08

On 19 August 2007 Styles refereed the Premier League game between Liverpool and Chelsea, where he wrongly awarded a penalty to Chelsea.[6] Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez was quoted as saying that the decision was 'unbelievable'. "That decision is impossible to explain, it was the invisible penalty" said Benítez after the 1–1 draw.[6] All sports pundits on the live broadcast and later highlights shows agreed that it was not a penalty.

Proceedings took a bizarre turn when later in the same game, Michael Essien was seemingly booked twice but not sent from the field of play. Styles showed John Terry a yellow card and then, a minute or so later after having clearly putting the card away and walking several yards to talk to Essien (who was booked earlier in the game) and Fernando Torres, lifted another yellow card in Essien's direction, although whilst looking towards Terry. However, it was subsequently confirmed by the fourth official, Phil Dowd, that Styles had only booked Terry and not Essien. It was the putting away and re-showing of the card that confused spectators and commentators, as it meant that two separate yellow cards had been shown during the incident, when Styles only meant to show one.[7]

As a result of his decision to award the penalty, and the confusion regarding the yellow cards, it was announced on 20 August 2007 by Keith Hackett, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), that Styles would be "dropped" for one round of matches.[8] He also sent an apology to the Liverpool manager. This was confirmed in a press statement on the same day, when Hackett said: "Having looked at a video and seen a better angle and a better view, clearly he (Styles) now recognises that he got it wrong and he's deeply apologetic for that. I think, in fact, he too will be making contact with Liverpool in order to offer his apologies."[9]

Birmingham City v. Manchester City, Premier League, 2007-08

In awarding Birmingham City a penalty 13 minutes from time during the Premier League game at St Andrews on 29 March 2008, Styles caused many observers in the media to question whether the away side's Sun Jihai had actually fouled home striker Gary McSheffrey in the penalty area, or merely been punished for a legitimate shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, which would ordinarily have brought no sanction whatsoever.[10][11][12][13]

The Manchester club's boss, Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "We were not helped by the referee. The decision in awarding a penalty against us was, well, wrong."[12]

Even though Birmingham had earlier been reduced to ten men through Franck Queudrue's dismissal for the first penalty, Manchester City went on to lose 3–1.[14]

Manchester United v. Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, 2008-09

On 27 September 2008, Rob Styles controversially awarded a penalty to Manchester United with scores at nil all, giving United the lead at Old Trafford in a Premier League match against Bolton Wanderers.[15] Jlloyd Samuel made a clean challenge on the ball where Cristiano Ronaldo went down under impact of the ball and challenge.[16] None of the Manchester United players appeared to even appeal for a penalty, yet Styles pointed to the spot.[17] TV replays clearly show a legal challenge by the Bolton defender. Ronaldo went onto dispatch the penalty and United won the game 2-0. Gary Megson described the decision as a "Cataclysmic Cock-up".[18] Styles would later apologise to Bolton for his mistake, but was left to continue officiating the next round of games by the Premier League.[19]

Newcastle United v. Manchester City, Premier League, 2008-09

On 20 October 2008, Rob Styles controversially awarded a penalty to Manchester City with scores at nil all, giving City the lead at St. James' Park in a Premier League match against Newcastle United. Habib Beye was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Robinho, though TV replays suggest that it was a legal challenge by the Newcastle defender, as Beye touched the ball before making contact with Robinho.[20][21][22] Robinho went on to dispatch the penalty and the match finished 2-2. The red card was subsequently overturned, by an FA commission convened to rule on the situation, following an appeal from Newcastle United.[23] Styles subsequently faced more criticism following the incident, leading to speculation that he was on the verge of quitting the profession.[24]

West Bromwich Albion v. Manchester United, Premier League, 2008-09

On 27 January 2009 Styles took charge of this game, and with the scores 1-0 he wrongly sent off Paul Robinson of WBA who later went on to lose the game.[25] In the following days the red card was overturned by the F.A. Two days later he subsequently retired from refereeing, with the perceived lack of support from the FA being the main reason, and stated he will not referee again. .[26]

Career statistics

Season Games Total per game Total per game
1997/1998 35 151 4.31 16 0.45
1998/1999 40 213 5.32 17 0.42
1999/2000 40 96 2.40 10 0.25
2000/2001 31 98 3.16 12 0.38
2001/2002 28 108 3.85 8 0.28
2002/2003 35 119 3.40 13 0.37
2003/2004 37 123 3.32 16 0.43
2004/2005 41 124 3.02 9 0.21
2005/2006 45 148 3.28 5 0.11
2006/2007 44 143 3.25 10 0.22
2007/2008 34 117 3.44 15 0.44
2008/2009 36 107 2.97 7 0.19


  1. ^ a b c d Profile at the Football League Official website.
  2. ^ 2000 play-off final, the old Football League Second Division: website.
  3. ^ First ever Premiership match: website.
  4. ^ FA Youth Cup Final, 2003: website.
  5. ^ FA Cup Final 2005, report: website.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Liverpool 1–1 Chelsea: report from the website.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Dropped from Premiership games for following weekend (25–26 August): report from website.
  10. ^ Media quotes - "Sun Jihai's shoulder charge with Gary McSheffrey was not even a foul, let alone a penalty": the Mail on Sunday website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  11. ^ Media quotes - "he punished full-back Sun Jihai for being the recipient of a desperate shoulder charge by McSheffrey": the Sunday Telegraph website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  12. ^ a b Media quotes - "Sun Jihai and McSheffrey went shoulder to shoulder chasing the loose ball, referee Styles inexplicably pointed to the penalty spot for a second time": website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  13. ^ Media quotes - "Rob Styles deemed Jihai to have fouled McSheffrey inside the area, even though it looked like the latter was the instigator of a shoulder to shoulder collision": website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  14. ^ Birmingham 3 Man. City 1, Premier League, 2008: website. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^,19528,11661_4216238,00.html
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Ref Styles Considers Quitting - Football365
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links

Preceded by
Jeff Winter
FA Cup Final Referee
Succeeded by
Alan Wiley
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