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Steve Bennett
Steve Bennett.jpg
Personal information
Full name Stephen Graham Bennett
Date of birth 17 January 1961 (1961-01-17) (age 49)
Place of birth Farnborough, Kent, England
Years League Role
? – ?
 ? – ?
 ? –1992
Kent League
Isthmian League
Football Conference
Football League
Premier League
Football League
Premier League
Asst. referee
Asst. referee
Years League Role
FIFA listed
FIFA listed
Asst. referee

Stephen Graham Bennett (born 17 January 1961 in Farnborough, Kent[1]) is an English football referee who operates in the Premier League, and previously for FIFA as an assistant referee and then referee.



Bennett has been a referee since 1984, starting out in his home county of Kent.[1]

In 1995 he began refereeing in the Football League, and since 1999 in the Premier League. In 2001 he was appointed as an official FIFA referee.[1]

Bennett took charge of an official friendly international match,[2] known as "The Other Final", in 2002, between the two lowest FIFA-ranked teams in the world at the time, Bhutan and Montserrat, at the Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu, Bhutan. This took place on the morning of the World Cup Final in that year, and the home side won 4–0. The subsequent documentary film, entitled The Other Final and directed by Dutchman Johan Kramer, was released in 2003.[3]

In 2004 Bennett was criticised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter for having sent off Everton's Tim Cahill for removing his shirt after scoring against Manchester City.[4]

Bennett refereed the 2005 League Cup final at the Millennium Stadium between Chelsea and Liverpool, which the London club won by 3 goals to 2.[1] In October 2005, he was in charge of the World Cup qualifier between Norway and Moldova, when the home side won 1–0 with a goal from Sigurd Rushfeldt.[5]

He took charge of the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match in March 2006 between Benfica and Barcelona, the game ending 0–0.

Bennett was chosen to referee the 2007 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United on 19 May 2007, the first at the new Wembley Stadium.[6] Chelsea won by 1–0, Didier Drogba scoring late in the second half of extra time.[7] Bennett issued seven bookings, four of which came in the added 30 minutes.[8]

In the first period of extra time, Ryan Giggs' shot was gathered by Petr Čech. Giggs claimed that the ball had crossed the line, despite sliding into the goalkeeper and seemingly forcing the Chelsea man backwards. Bennett did not give a goal, but after the game Giggs commented: "It was clearly over the line - that's what I was asking for. I could see it was over the line and the referee did not give a free-kick so it was a goal."[9] Carlos Queiroz, the Manchester United coach, said: "It is a clear penalty, there is no doubt about that. We are not surprised because after the pressure of the last 15 days it is natural the referee under pressure is not able to make the crucial decision of the game. The more pressure you put on referees the more it seems like some teams and some managers become compensated in the game because nobody does anything about that."[9]

Bennett was involved in some controversy when he refereed the Manchester United versus Liverpool Premier League encounter on 22 March 2008. He sent off Liverpool's Argentine Midfielder Javier Mascherano for a second bookable offence. [10] Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has publicly defended his player. [11] Mascherano initially said: "I do not know why I was sent off. I asked the referee what was happening. I did not swear, I was not aggressive and I did not confront him. All I did was ask him what was happening, nothing else. So when he showed me the second yellow card and sent me off I could not believe it." [12] Mascherano later retracted this line, apologizing for his actions and admitting his behavior was inappropriate. [13] Mascherano admitted a charge of improper conduct, was fined two weeks wages by the club,[14] and attended a personal hearing before the FA on April 3. Following this, he received a further two-match ban and a £15,000 fine.[15]

Since the incident, The Sun national newspaper has launched a 'Shut It' campaign, urging footballers to respect the referee and curb their argumentative behaviour.[16]

Bennett retired from the FIFA list of referees in 2006, at the compulsory age of 45.

In July 2009 Bennett was invited by the England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials to sit as an Independent Director on the new ACO Board. [17]

Career statistics

Season Games Total Booked Booked per game Total Red card Red card per game
1997–98 36 128 3.56 12 0.33
1998–99 39 162 4.15 10 0.26
1999–00 33 107 3.24 2 0.06
2000–01 31 87 2.81 8 0.26
2001–02 33 105 3.18 8 0.24
2002–03 38 148 3.89 7 0.18
2003–04 35 103 2.94 12 0.34
2004–05 42 169 4.02 10 0.24
2005–06 42 141 3.36 12 0.29
2006–07 45 151 3.35 14 0.31
2007–08 41 128 3.12 9 0.21
2008–09 31 118 3.80 1 0.03

(There are no available records prior to 1997/1998)



3 red cards in a game

10 cards in a game


  1. ^ a b c d Birthdate and Biographical detail: the Football League official website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  2. ^ Official International Friendly Match, Bhutan v. Montserrat, 2002: website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  3. ^ The Other Final (2003) at website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  4. ^ Sepp Blatter's criticism: news report. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  5. ^ Norway v Moldova World Cup qualifier: match report. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  6. ^ Confirmation of FA Cup Final appointment, 2007: official website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  7. ^ FA Cup Final 2007, match report: website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008
  8. ^ 2007 FA Cup Final, Chelsea v. Man. Utd.: website. Retrieved on March 27, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Comments from website. Retrieved on 25 March 2008.
  10. ^ Retrieved on 5 May 2008
  11. ^ Mascherano second yellow card for "persistent dissent": from a report at the Evening Times website. Retrieved on 24 March 2008
  12. ^ "Masch: I could't believe red card": from a report on the Liverpool F.C. website. Retrieved on 24 March 2008
  13. ^ ESPNsoccernet - England - Reds to appeal ban as Mascherano issues apology
  14. ^ "Javier Mascherano fined after improper conduct charge": from an article at The Times website. Retrieved on 29 March 2008
  15. ^ "Mascherano slapped with fine and increased ban" after personal FA hearing: ESPNsoccernet website. Retrieved on 3 April 2008.
  16. ^ "Shut It" campaign: The Sun website. Retrieved on 2 April 2008
  17. ^ Football referee Steve Bennett joins Cricket Board:
  18. ^

External links

Preceded by
Alan Wiley
FA Community Shield
Succeeded by
Mike Dean
Preceded by
Mike Riley
Carling Cup Final
Succeeded by
Alan Wiley
Preceded by
Alan Wiley
FA Cup Final Referee
Succeeded by
Mike Dean


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