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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Referee Styles dropped over error
Liverpool's Jamie Carragher (right) and Steve Finnan express their disbelief after referee Rob Styles awards a dubious penalty to Chelsea
Styles penalises Finnan, to Carragher's disbelief
Referee Rob Styles will not officiate in the Premier League next weekend following his performance in the Liverpool-Chelsea game on Sunday.

Styles was criticised for awarding a controversial penalty to Chelsea.

Referees' chief Keith Hackett told BBC Radio 5live: "It is just like with players, if they miss an open goal they are likely to be dropped."

Styles also appeared to show Chelsea's Michael Essien a second yellow card but then failed to send him off.

Former referee Hackett is general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body which oversees referees.

The referees' supremo has apologised to Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez for the error.

Hackett added: "I spoke to Rob this morning and obviously he is extremely disappointed with the decision and admitted he got it wrong. I have left a message with Rafael Benitez to apologise.

"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."

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Asked about the confusion when Essien appeared to be booked for a second time, Hackett said: "I'm informed by both the fourth official and Rob he retained the card shown to John Terry then held the card to indicate a direct free-kick, and failed to put the card away.

"So it was a basic, if you like, admin error as against an error in application of law.

"We'll look at the video to ensure we don't get a repeat of that."

Benitez was left incensed and skipper Steven Gerrard said Styles had "cracked" after he penalised Steve Finnan for a foul on Florent Malouda, although replays showed there was minimal contact.

"That decision is impossible to explain, it was the invisible penalty" said Benitez after the 1-1 draw.

Hackett also revealed assistant referee Ian Gosling will be given next weekend off, after he denied Fulham a late goal at home to Middlesbrough when David Healy clearly forced the ball over the line.

He said: "Clearly the assistant referee has made an error, so he won't be operating next week for us either."

But Hackett defended the overall standard of refereeing, describing the mistakes over the weekend as a "hiccup".

Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho
Benitez and Mourinho renewed their war of words after the match
The Essien incident happened shortly after Styles had awarded Chelsea their penalty, which Frank Lampard converted to level the scores after Fernando Torres put Liverpool in front with a goal on his home debut.

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll told BBC Radio 5live that Styles did not book Essien twice but that his award of a card to Terry looked "messy".

"At the first look I definitely thought he had booked Essien a second time," said Poll.

"Having looked I can see that as Rob raises the yellow card he points over to John Terry and says that it is John he has cautioned.

"He had just given a penalty and you have a gut feeling as a referee that you might have made a mistake.

"You are under pressure then and when the stress is at its highest it is difficult to think clearly and get everything right."

Poll, who booked Croatia's Josip Simunic three times during a World Cup match in 2006, added: "It was a big mistake."

Benitez had no sympathy with Styles after the match, adding: "I want to have a lot of respect for referees, but sometimes I cannot understand why they give some decisions.

"I think he will watch the video of the match and admit that his penalty decision was a mistake."

And Gerrard asked for Styles to apologise for his penalty decision.

Not every player on the pitch was helping the referee

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

"I don't want to say too much because I will get into trouble, but the referee didn't play well," said the Liverpool skipper.

"Whether it was because the Chelsea players were talking I don't know, but in the end he's cracked and made a bad decision.

"It wasn't a penalty and I hope he comes out and says sorry now."

Meanwhile, Mourinho did not criticise Styles over the penalty decision but suggested his job had not been made easier by the behaviour of certain players from "a different culture".

"I haven't seen the replay of the incident and it was difficult to make out what was happening at the time," he insisted.

"Rafa has his opinion and I have mine. I judged the game to be a good and a fair one.

"Perhaps there were too many cards but overall I thought Mr Styles had a positive game.

"Not every player on the pitch was helping the referee."

Styles handed out eight yellow cards - while Mourinho was believed to be referring to Liverpool's Spanish duo of Torres and Alvaro Arbeloa.

SEE ALSO
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
19 Aug 07 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
19 Aug 07 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
19 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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