BEIJING, Aug.21 -- English Premier League referee Rob Styles has been
dropped from this weekend's matches after awarding Chelsea a controversial
penalty in Sunday's match at Liverpool.
Styles gave Chelsea a penalty when Florent Malouda went down despite
minimal contact from Liverpool defender Steve Finnan and Frank Lampard converted
the spot kick to give the London side a 1-1 draw at Anfield. "(Styles) looked at
the video with the decision and he's admitted that he got it wrong," chief of
referees Keith Hackett was quoted as saying on Sky Sports News yesterday.
"I've left a message with (Liverpool manager) Rafa Benitez to apologize on
behalf of the PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials) for the error," Hackett
Benitez was incensed by the penalty decision that left Liverpool, which had
taken the lead through a classy strike from Fernando Torres, in seventh place
with four points from two games at the start of a season in which he is
determined it win its first championship title since 1990. Chelsea is second
with seven points from three games.
Benitez and Blues coach Jose Mourniho were involved in a verbal spat after
the fractious draw and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he felt the referee
had been intimidated by Chelsea's players and had "cracked."
Mourinho defended his players by calling them "pure" before Benitez
questioned that statement.
After being told of Gerrard's comments, Mourinho said: "I think I have a
naive team because we don't have divers, don't have violent people, nasty
tacklers and don't have people diving in the swimming pool. Chelsea are a pure
and naive team."
Benitez told reporters: "You can check the team and see how many players
they have that do things he says they do not do.
"I don't like to give names but I remember situations in past years and
today you can see players talking all the time."
Benitez said he was upset to see his side miss out on victory because of a
bad refereeing decision on a day when title rival Manchester United was beaten
and Arsenal was held to a draw.
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal an early lead at Blackburn but Rovers, who
ended the game with 10 men after Ryan Nelsen was sent off, got a point when Jens
Lehmann fumbled David Dunn's 25-meter shot into his net.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger later accused Rovers of "violent"
(Source: Shanghai Daily/ Agencies)