Michael Oliver (referee)

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Michael Oliver
Born (1985-02-20) 20 February 1985 (age 29)
Ashington, Northumberland, England
2003–2005 Northern League Referee
2005–2007 Nationwide Conference Referee
2007–2010 The Football League Referee
2010– Premier League Referee
Years League Role
2012– FIFA listed Referee (Category 1)[1]

Michael Oliver (born 20 February 1985)[2] is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League having been being promoted to the Select Group of Referees in 2010. Later that year he became the youngest-ever referee to take charge of a Premier League game.[3]

He is based in Cramlington, Northumberland, and is a member of the Northumberland Football Association.


Oliver was introduced to refereeing by his father, Clive, at the age of 14.[4] He quickly progressed through the ranks and was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2007 and refereed the 2007 Conference National play-off final, becoming the youngest football referee to officiate at Wembley Stadium. In addition he had already been the youngest-ever Football League assistant referee, youngest-ever Football League referee, and would also become the youngest ever fourth official in the Premier League.

The Oliver family enjoyed a unique refereeing double when father Clive took charge of the 2009 League 2 play-off final and son Michael officiated the next day at the 2009 League 1 play-off final.

Oliver was set to become the youngest-ever referee in the Premier League when he was appointed to the match between Fulham and Portsmouth on 9 January 2010.[5] However, adverse weather resulted in him having to postpone the match and it was not re-arranged until after he had undergone an ankle operation which sidelined him until April.[6]

His Premier League refereeing debut was therefore put on hold and after being promoted to the Select Group in August 2010, his first appointment was Birmingham City against Blackburn Rovers on 21 August. Oliver was 25 years and 182 days old, breaking Stuart Attwell's record as the youngest-ever Premier League referee.

Oliver was appointed as fourth official for the 2013 League Cup final at Wembley Stadium. He refereed the FA Cup semi-final between Wigan Athletic and Millwall in April 2013 and in doing so became the youngest referee to take charge of an FA Cup semi-final. Wigan went on to win the FA Cup and played Manchester United in the subsequent FA Community Shield match which Oliver was fourth official for.


Oliver received some criticism on 1 November 2010 after refereeing a Premier League fixture between Blackpool and West Bromwich Albion, during which he issued two red cards to West Brom players. The first, to Pablo Ibanez for a foul in his penalty area, was subsequently rescinded upon appeal to the Football Association.

On 13 November 2010, Oliver refereed a Football League Championship match between Reading and Norwich City. Shortly before half-time, he showed a red card to Norwich striker Grant Holt for an apparent over-the-ball tackle on Ian Harte, with the score at 3–1 to the visitors. The match finished 3–3 with Norwich manager Paul Lambert being sent to the stands by Oliver for leaving his technical area. After the game, Lambert questioned Oliver's experience[7] and strongly criticised his decision to send Holt off,[8] while the opposition's manager Brian McDermott also criticised the decision. The red card was later rescinded by the FA[9] and Lambert was charged with improper conduct for his comments.[10]


Season Games Total Booked Booked per game Total Red card Red card per game
2006-07 12 26 2.17 3 0.25
2007-08 29 73 2.52 6 0.21
2008-09 41 101 2.46 5 0.12
2009-10 27 74 2.74 7 0.26
2010-11 29 83 2.86 6 0.21
2011-12 36 94 2.61 4 0.11
2012-13 39 105 2.69 1 0.03

Statistics are for all competitions. No records are available prior to 2006-07.[11]


  1. ^ "FIFA Referee List". FIFA. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Premie League wait a pain Northumberland journal]
  3. ^ Ashington Ref Michael Oliver Set To Take On Premier League Duties JournalLive
  4. ^ Refworld profile
  5. ^ Michael Oliver set to be youngest referee in Premier League history Mail Online
  6. ^ Michael Oliver set to make history guardian.co.uk
  7. ^ "Lambert risks wrath of FA for blast at ref". The Pink 'Un. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Reading 3-3 Norwich". BBC Sport. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Holt's red card overturned". canaries.co.uk. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Lambert charged by FA". canaries.co.uk. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.soccerbase.com/referees/referee.sd?referee_id=1025

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