Connect with us

English Football

Rob Styles Demoted to League Two for a Weekend


From the Daily Telegraph’s website:

“A week after officiating at Blackburn’s Premier League game against leaders Manchester United, referee Rob Styles will be in charge of Saturday’s League Two match between Shrewsbury Town and Chester City.

Styles turned down two United penalty appeals and cautioned Wayne Rooney when he complained about a challenge by Steven Reid.

The Premier League would say only that referees’ supremo Keith Hackett had 19 referees to choose from for 10 Premier League games each weekend, but it does appear a huge drop in status for a man regarded as one of England’s senior referees.

Last month Styles was criticized over a penalty he awarded to Birmingham and in August he was sanctioned following his performance in Liverpool’s game at home to Chelsea.”

This is why the higher-ups in the Premier League, particularly Keith Hackett, are nothing more than a joke. This is why there’s a major problem in England in terms of respecting the referees.

As the article says, there are going to be nine eligible referees every week who don’t work a Premiership game. No one makes a big deal about it when a referee isn’t picked, unless it’s a form of punishment for poor performance in a previous game.

My question is this: Why embarrass the referees by making disciplinary action public? If Keith Hackett didn’t want to assign Rob Styles to a Premiership game this weekend, that’s fine; there are nine other guys waiting to step in, and he quietly could’ve sat Styles down and chosen a replacement.

Styles is very experienced and has been around the block a few times. He doesn’t need to subjected to the relative humiliation of working a League Two match, and he doesn’t gain anything by doing it. As I said, if Hackett didn’t want to select Styles, then he should’ve just given him the weekend off altogether.

All this does, and we’ve seen it before with other referees (Mark Clattenburg earlier in the season sticks out to me), is gives players and managers more ammunition to criticize the referees and treat them without respect. It’s obvious that Hackett doesn’t have the backs of his officials, and demoting them to lower-league duty just chops their authority off at the knees when they get back to the Premiership.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
  • Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more



  1. Rob

    April 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not sure this has been done as a punishment for Rob Styles – Shrewsbury v Chester is a local derby, and it is not unusual for particularly high profile lower league games to be covered by the premiership referees. For example Mr Styles himself refereed Northampton Town v Nottingham Forest in March as it involved Forest manager Colin Calderwood returning to his former club in a clash which had heavy implications for the promotion aspirations of both sides. Similarly Peter Walton recently took charge of the league 2 top of the table clash between MK Dons and Peterborough United.

  2. Michael

    April 23, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Guys, don’t get me wrong, I agree with both of you (Ryan and Charlie). I understand everything you’re saying, and it’s completely valid.

    But it’s not really my point.

    If you want to punish Styles, that’s fine. He didn’t have a good game and everyone knows it, and yes, Charlie, referees have to be accountable for their actions.

    Styles isn’t a young referee; he’s been around the block a few times. He’s been working Premier League games since 2000, and has been a FIFA referee since 2002. What is the end game for him being demoted to League Two? He doesn’t need any more experience, he doesn’t need the extra paycheck.

    The only thing you’re doing by demoting him is embarrassing him and when he returns to the Premiership, you can bet that he’ll be an easy target for players and managers.

    As I said, I would agree that he should be disciplined for the game he had. I don’t think that discipline needs to be made public though, I think it can be kept in-house, and it’s not necessary to send him down to League Two; there’s no point in that. If you want to discipline him, just don’t schedule him this weekend in the Premiership. Nine other referees are in the pool to replace him, so you could take Styles out quietly without embarrassing him.

    Sit Styles down for a weekend, discuss what he needed to correct and can work on for future games, but don’t send the guy down to League Two. He’s a very experienced referee and this just makes him look amateurish and incapable in the public’s eye, when this isn’t the case. Every referee has a bad game once in a while, just like every player does, and you don’t see Premiership players loaned out to League Two teams after a bad performance.

  3. Ryan

    April 23, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Simple* wow

  4. Ryan

    April 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    You screw up at your job repeatedly, you get demoted, plain and simply.

  5. Charlie

    April 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Allow me to refresh your memory with a quote I’ve taken from one of your earlier posts…

    “Mr. (Mike) Riley, take yourself and your big nose right off the soccer field and don’t come back, thanks. He has no business being a Premiership referee if he’s going to be as inconsistent as he was today.”

    There are people out there who would say the same thing about Rob Styles as you did Mike Riley.

    One of the penalty appeals United didn’t get — the trip in the area — was 50-50. But the other one should have been a no-brainer. Styles missed a blatant, no-doubt-about-it handball in the box.

    This isn’t a Sunday beer league, it’s the Barclays Premier League, and there’s a hell of a lot on the line. Had United dropped all three points to Blackburn, Brad Friedel (who was fantastic) would have found himself sharing headlines with Styles for completely bottling that call.

    I’m all for respecting officials, but I’m also for making sure the officials on the pitch are qualified and capable of *consistently* doing the job to the best of their abilities. Clearly, this isn’t happening with some officials. As the newspaper article you’ve quoted points out, Styles has already been sanctioned by the FA once this season for a poor performance.

    If the FA is going to hold players and staff accountable with this new respect initiative, it has to hold the officials accountable as well. Not doing so creates a double-standard, where officials will be perceived as right even when they’re obviously wrong, and before you know it we’ll end up right back at Square One when another player goes ballistic on a ref.

    If this accountability for one’s actions (or in Styles’ case, inaction) means he has to “lower himself” to work a League Two match, then so be it. The officials can’t have their cake and eat it too.

  6. BillE Shears

    April 23, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I agree with you 100% Michael. All that this does is undermine his confidence, make him feel more prone to pressure from fans, players and the media, and arguably diminish his performance going forward.

  7. Fsquid

    April 23, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I still advocate for the Rugby way of reffing. Only the captain can speak to the ref. Mouth off and we march 10 meters closer toe the goal.

    As for this issue. Surely there is a championship match he can officiate? Heck, I’ll take him in the middle at Leicester this weekend.

  8. Michael

    April 23, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Great point, RIP.

  9. RIP

    April 23, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Referees are in an impossible position. If anyone should recognize that it is their boss. How does ref’ing a League Two match give him the ability to make the right choice next time. It would only make me less confidence in making the decision. Also, if he isn’t a good ref then let him go, if not they should support him 100%.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in English Football

Translate »