Probert in 2011
|Full name||Lee William Probert|
13 August 1972 |
South Gloucestershire, England
|?-1998||Football Conference South||Referee|
|1998–2003||Football League||Assistant referee|
|2010–||FIFA listed||Referee (Category 2)|
Lee William Probert (born 13 August 1972) is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League. He was born in South Gloucestershire but is now based in Wiltshire and is associated with the Wiltshire Football Association.
He has refereed in the Premier League, the top level in the English football league pyramid, since his promotion to the panel of Select Group Referees in 2007. In 2010 he officiated the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium and in 2014 he took charge of the FA Cup final, the highest refereeing honour in England.
Probert began refereeing in 1986, in leagues local to Bristol and later in the Football Conference South. He was promoted to the assistant referees' list for the Football League in 1998, and made the step up to full referee five years later.
He refereed his first FA Cup match on 17 November 2001, taking charge of a first-round tie between Dagenham & Redbridge and Southport, which was settled for the home side by a first-half penalty kick.
In July 2007 a press release from the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which employs Premier League referees full-time, stated that Probert had been included in the Select Group of 19 referees for the 2007–08 season. Prior to this, he had been trialled in the top-tier during the previous season, being appointed a fixture between Sheffield United and Portsmouth in January 2007 which ended in a 1–1 draw.
Probert came in for criticism when he was fourth official for a Premier League match in August 2009 between Manchester United and Arsenal. Probert and the referee, Mike Dean, were censured after Arsène Wenger was sent to the stands for his reaction, including kicking a plastic bottle, to the ruling-out of an Arsenal goal for offside. League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan said of the error of judgement: "Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus away from the pitch in a big event with only a minute to go." The Premier League subsequently issued an apology to Wenger.
Probert came under the spotlight after another Manchester United fixture in April 2011, a 0–0 draw at Newcastle United. In the final minute, Manchester United striker Javier Hernández went down in the penalty area under a Danny Simpson challenge. Probert adjudged Hernández to have dived and booked him for simulation, a decision described as "brave" by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew but as an "insult" by Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson.
After a Football League Championship game in February 2012 between West Ham United and Southampton, two teams vying for automatic promotion to the Premier League, which finished 1–1, West Ham's manager Sam Allardyce accused Probert and his assistants of "taking away what we are striving for" by declining two penalty appeals and dismissing Matthew Taylor for a shove during a mêlée. Southampton coach Nigel Adkins said the referee made some "interesting" decisions and added that he felt Probert also missed a penalty for his team for a handball.
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- "Eesti kaotas Türgile 0:3" (in Estonian). Estonian Football Association. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Middle initial and new residence (Wiltshire): the Football League official website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- Birthdate confirmation and profile: the Football League official website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- First FA Cup tie, Dagenham & Redbridge v. Southport, 2001: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- First match as a Football League referee, Northampton v. Torquay, 2003: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- League One play-off semi-final (second leg), Blackpool v. Oldham, 2007: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- Promotion to the Select Group: PGMOL Press release (PDF file). Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- Premier League "trial" match, Sheff Utd v. Portsmouth, 2007: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
- Wenger to get sending off apology, Man Utd v. Arsenal, 2009: bbc.co.uk website. Retrieved on 30 August 2009.
- Premier League – Chief referee 'will apologise to Wenger', Man Utd v. Arsenal, 2009: Eurosport website. Retrieved on 30 August 2009.
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