Anthony Taylor returns to the Premier League this weekend to referee Sunday’s big clash between Chelsea and Manchester City, just a week after he was demoted to the Championship.
Taylor was demoted after awarding a controversial penalty to Newcastle in their 2-2 draw at Wolves, adjudging Hwang Hee-chan fouled Fabian Schar in the box whilst he was attempting to clear the ball.Embed from Getty Images
His decision came under fire from all directions despite VAR not overturning it, with Wolves boss Gary O’Neil left fuming, labelling the penalty “scandalous”.
Taylor was subsequently dropped from the Premier League last weekend, taking charge of Coventry vs Preston, the first second tier match he had officiated in four years.
Despite being away from the spotlight, the 45-year-old still found himself involved in another controversial penalty decision.
The Englishman ruled that Coventry captain Kyle McFadzean had brought down Preston forward Milutin Osmajic in the box, but replays showed there was minimal contract.
Following the game, the EFL announced the spot-kick should not have been given, with Coventry boss Mark Robins saying:
“We have had confirmation that it wasn’t a penalty but there’s still a bit of ambiguity around that.
“So we need to do a little bit more digging on that to get clarity on the decision they have made.”
Having made another wrong call following his demotion, one would have expected Taylor to continue in the second tier or even drop down to League One.
However, the experienced referee has been promoted back to the top flight, tasked with arguably the biggest game of the weekend, between two of the traditional big six in the prime time Sunday afternoon slot.Embed from Getty Images
Taylor is one of English football’s most highly respected referees, having taken charge of two matches at the 2022 World Cup as well as three games at EURO 2020; he was also selected by UEFA to officiate last season’s Europa League final and the 2021 Nations League final.
There is no doubt that he is one of English football’s better officials, but if you are demoted following a mistake, and then make another error in that game, it seems wrong that you can be elevated back to take charge of such a massive game.
With questions over refereeing at an all-time high, and debate raging over the positives and negatives of VAR, it would seem sensible for those in charge of football to demand higher standards from their officials, and make sure they face real consequences when they make a bad mistake.