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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 16:08 UK

Ref Styles admits penalty mistake

Jussi Jaaskelainen and Rob Styles
Bolton players were aghast when Styles pointed to the spot

Referee Rob Styles has apologised to Bolton for awarding a controversial penalty against them in their defeat by Manchester United on Saturday.

Styles gave a spot-kick in the 60th minute after Jlloyd Samuel's tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo inside the area.

Ronaldo duly converted the penalty to give United the lead in a game they went on to win 2-0.

The Professional Game Match Official Board (PGMO) told the BBC that Styles spoke to Bolton on Monday to apologise.

Styles will not be punished with a suspension and will be in charge when Tottenham host Hull at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Styles's decision to apologise.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Mark Ashenden
"Rob takes a lot of credit," said Ferguson. "It helps in terms of him showing some humility towards the game. That is the most important thing.

"It is good he has done it. It presents him in a different light. It shows he has character and is big enough to do it."

But speaking after Saturday's game, furious Bolton boss Gary Megson described the penalty decision as "nonsense" and said he was not interested in an apology.

"I don't want him to ring me up," said Megson. "I would have more respect from him if he just holds his hands up and says he was wrong."

It is unknown in what manner Styles contacted Bolton on Monday or who he got in touch with.

Styles drew criticism in some quarters for not publicly admitting his mistake on television immediately after the game.

But contrary to some reports, he was not restricted by PGMO guidelines from doing so.

"Referees, should they so wish, have the opportunity to conduct post-match media interviews, after 30 minutes' 'cool-down' time, to clarify any point of law," said a spokesman for PGMO, the body responsible for top referees.

But the PGMO does not want a situation where referees regularly face 'trial by television'.

It stresses that it works closely with officials in analysing their performances after each match in order to maintain and raise standards.

Officials who make mistakes often miss out on refereeing a Premier League match the following weekend.

But the PGMO insists that referees are not automatically demoted when they make a high-profile mistake, merely that they are being taken out of the spotlight for a week or so.

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see also
Man Utd 2-0 Bolton
27 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
27 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
27 Sep 08 |  Football
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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