The selection of Anthony Taylor to referee the Liverpool and Manchester United clash on October 18 has sparked a debate. Liverpool fans are furious, and they have every right to do so.
Anthony Taylor’s appointment to referee the Liverpool and Manchester United has been widely condemned, with former referees’ chief Keith Hackett branding it “grossly unfair” on him.
If we go by the book, there is nothing unfair in awarding Anthony Taylor the job. Referees are banned from officiating matches involving clubs they support, and in the given case, Taylor is an Altrincham fan. So Taylor cannot officiate a match involving Altrincham. There are no rules that prevent an official from referring the match merely because it involves teams from their hometown.
Anthony Taylor hails from Wythenshawe and lives just six miles away from old Trafford. Liverpool fans are furious knowing that, in spite of his residence, Taylor will be in charge of the highly anticipated Premier league match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield. Addresses of referees are collected at the start of the season, but it is never a criterion in their selection.
Who is Anthony Taylor? Despite all the criticism, it is worth noting Anthony Taylor is a seasoned official. Taylor started his career in 2002 by refereeing in the northern premier league. He then went on to officiate matches in the football league.
Antony Taylor was appointed as a premier league referee in 2010. Since then, he has refereed premier league matches, Euro Cup matches, and even World Cup matches. So to doubt his credibility is uncalled for.
Keith Hackett said, “No-one is questioning Anthony’s integrity or his ability to handle this game. You could argue it’s testimony to his unflappable character and capacity to focus that he’s been appointed to it,” as told on his own You are the Ref website.
He also added further that, in a case of an error or an untoward incident, Taylor can come under immense pressure. According to Keith, “If that happens then it would be those who appointed him who must take the blame for such an avoidable risk.”
Antony Taylor is not new to controversies. In a similar controversy, Antony was in charge of an FA cup semi final match between Everton and Manchester United at Wembley. There were appeals by Everton fans to replace Taylor, which were ignored for the obvious reasons.
Liverpool fans do not have a pleasant memory of Antony either. In a 2014 Match involving Chelsea and Liverpool, Antony ignored a deliberate handball by Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, denying Liverpool a penalty. Chelsea went on to win the match 2-1. Watch the video at the 4:58 mark.
Taylor was again involved in a controversy in December of 2014 for booking Chelsea’s Cesc Fàbregas for diving even though he had been fouled by Matt Target. Taylor catered an apology to the Chelsea fans after the match. Taylor was again involved in a controversy in August of 2016, when he did not issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for a dangerous challenge, Costa went on to score the winning goal.
In an incident of outcry against officials, Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was fined £8,000 in January 2014, after he had questioned the appointment of Lee Mason to officiate Liverpool’s match with Manchester City. His side had lost the match 2-1.
Anthony Taylor can still be replaced, and that hope is the only reason fans are calling for his replacement. In April of this year, Kevin Friend was removed from Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Stoke City due to his perceived support of the north London club’s title rivals, Leicester City.
When the Liverpool vs Manchester United match begins next Monday, not only Reds but Anthony Taylor also will be hoping that things go on smoothly and that it turns out to be a spectacle of a match without any controversies.
[ Featured Image By Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images]