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Styles to retire

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One of the most controversial referees to officiate in the Premier League over the past decade, Rob Styles, has decided to end his officiating career early.


A resignation letter from Styles is expected to arrive at the FA today, calling time on a 22-year career which began in the Wessex League.


Former Premier League referee Graham Poll said he was 'saddened but not surprised' by the decision. Poll, who himself retired from officiating in the Premier League in 2007, told the Daily Mail: "He cared deeply about his refereeing, dedicating himself to serving the game he loves. However, the fact that the majority of the football-watching public will merely shrug their shoulders in indifference at this news or say 'Good' proves the lack of understanding of the modern referee."


In recent years, 45-year-old Styles attracted criticism for his decisions in a number of the Premier League's highest profile matches, notably Liverpool's match against Chelsea at the beginning of the 2007-08 season, when he awarded a disputed penalty to Chelsea before showing Michael Essien two yellow cards without sending him off.


In the 2008-09 season, Styles awarded Manchester United a penalty against Bolton when Cristiano Ronaldo was challenged fairly by Jlloyd Samuel in the area. Ronaldo and his team-mates did not seem to appeal for a foul before Styles awarded the penalty to the astonishment of Bolton's players. He was roundly criticised for making an incorrect decision in the following days.

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