Stuart Attwell

Stuart Steven Attwell (born 6 October 1982) is an English football referee from Nuneaton, Warwickshire,[1] who officiates primarily in the Premier League.

Stuart Attwell
Stuart Attwell.jpg
Full name Stuart Steven Attwell
Born (1982-10-06) 6 October 1982 (age 37)
Nuneaton, England
Years League Role
2007–2016 The Football League Referee
2008–2012; 2016– Premier League Referee
Years League
2009– Referee

Attwell made a prominent debut in 2008 as the youngest person ever to referee in the Premier League[2] but was demoted from the Select Group in February 2012, returning to refereeing in the Football League.


Attwell graduated from Staffordshire University in 2004. Refereeing had been a lifelong ambition for him, according to his father. Attwell worked his way up from local games to non-League football, then to the West Midlands League and the Football League.[3]

His promotion to Football League refereeing came ahead of the 2007–08 season, officiating his first match on 11 August 2007 in a League 2 fixture between Hereford United and Rotherham United. He first officiated in League 1 when taking charge of a game between Swansea City and Gillingham. Attwell continued to be promoted and on 26 December 2007 he made his League Championship debut officiating a 1–1 draw between Sheffield United and Blackpool. In total he refereed five Championship games during the 2007–08 season. On 26 May 2008 Attwell officiated the League 2 play-off final between Rochdale and Stockport County at Wembley Stadium, won 3–2 by Stockport.[4]

Attwell was included in the Select Group of referees for the 2008–09 season,[5] making him eligible to referee in the Premier League, and granting him full-time employment by the Professional Game Match Officials Association. On 25 June 2008, he was promoted to the list of top flight officials in the Premier League, after just one season in the Football League. This made him the youngest ever Premier League referee at 25 years of age.[1] On 23 August 2008, he made his Premier League debut when he refereed a 1–1 draw between Blackburn Rovers and Hull City.[6]

Attwell and one of his assistants, Nigel Bannister, were censured for a decision to award a "ghost goal"[7][unreliable source?] to Reading in a Championship game at Watford on 20 September 2008 after Bannister mistakenly flagged for a goal instead of a corner kick.[8] The incident led to both Attwell and Bannister being dropped from their duties the following weekend. Six weeks later, Attwell refereed a 1 all draw between Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

On 20 December 2008, Attwell was added to the international list of referees for 2009.

In July 2010, Attwell officiated in Japanese J. League matches for three weeks. Attwell and Anthony Taylor were sent to Japan as part of referee exchange programmes signed between the English FA and Japanese FA.[9]

In February 2012, Attwell was demoted from the list of Select Group Referees and returned to Football League duty on the National List. The move was said to come by mutual consent. Professional Game Match Officials Limited general manager Mike Riley backed Attwell to improve as a referee and return to the top level.[citation needed]

Career statisticsEdit


Season Games Total     per game Total     per game
2007–08 32 52 1.62 9 0.28
2008–09 30 94 3.13 8 0.26
2009–10 26 95 3.65 4 0.15
2010–11 25 79 3.16 2 0.08
2011–12 32 102 3.19 6 0.19
2012–13 44 129 2.93 3 0.07

Statistics for all competitions, including domestic, European and international. No records available prior to 2007–08.[10]


Season Games Total     per game Total     per game
2010 2 18 9.00 0 0.00


  1. ^ a b Vitalnetwork Ltd. "Hereford United – Ref Watch: Stuart Attwell". Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  2. ^ McKenzie, Andrew (25 June 2008). "Premier League names youngest ref". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Staffs graduate is Premier League's youngest ever referee". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ "SB Atwell 2007–08". Soccerbase. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  5. ^ "PGMOL Coaching Structure 2008/09 Confirming Attwell as a Select Group Referee" (PDF). Ref World. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  6. ^ Cheese, Caroline (23 August 2008). "BBC Football – Premier League Blackburn 1–1 Hull". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  7. ^ "Assistant referee Bannister dropped after phantom goal". Daily Mail. London. 23 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Watford 2–2 Reading". BBC News. 20 September 2008.
  9. ^ "English refs to officiate in Japan". Japan Football Association. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Games refereed by Stuart Attwell in 2011/2012". Soccer Base. Retrieved 8 September 2014.

External linksEdit