We were delighted to hear that Anthony Taylor and his team of Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn, Orel Grinfeeld (Israel), Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney have been appointed to take charge of the 2020 UEFA Super Cup.
With Champions League winners Bayern Munich taking on the Europa League winners Sevilla in Budapest on Thursday 24 September, the news comes in a fantastic year for English refereeing with another high-profile international appointment for one of the country’s top referees.
- Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Assistant referees: Adam Nunn and Gary Beswick
- Fourth official: Orel Grinfeeld
- VAR: Stuart Attwell
- Assistant VAR: Paul Tierney
"The appointment of Anthony and his team is richly deserved as they have developed into one of the most impressive refereeing teams in Europe," said David Elleray, chairman of our FA Referees Committee.
"Following on from being the first referee in recent times to referee two FA Cup finals, Anthony now has the unique achievement of being involved in every major UEFA final, having previously officiated as an additional assistant referee in the 2014 Super Cup (2014), 2015 Europa League Final and the EURO and Champions’ League finals of 2016.
"No referee gets top appointments without a very strong ‘team’ and Anthony would be the first to admit that the work of Gary, Adam, Stuart and Paul have been instrumental in this appointment."
And we caught up with Anthony ahead of the game to get his thoughts...
Anthony, how does it feel to be recognised by UEFA with this fantastic appointment?
This is not just about me, it’s the whole team, so Gary, Adam, Stu and Paul. We work together regularly, in every single game in UEFA, so I would like to think it was recognition for the whole team’s hard work. Without the rest of the team, I can’t do my job on the field and I would like to think it’s recognition for how well we performed in the two knockout games that we did in Germany and Lisbon in the Champions League.So it's really humbling to be recognised by UEFA this way, but like I say, it's down to every single person in the team, not just me.
What's it like refereeing two European teams? How, if it all, is it different to the domestic game?
It can be different. The expectation in this country is to allow a lot more physical contact, international matches obviously pose their own challenges in how you are able to communicate with players, but also the different styles of play as well. So obviously in the Super Cup you have Bayern, which is obviously an English style kind of team and a Spanish team in Sevilla, who are very technical, so it's very much preparing properly for the contrast in styles of play and the expectations from the teams about the physical contact allowed. Within UEFA, there are some very clear parameters set down in terms of penalties and handball, interpretations we have started to use more in the Premier League this year.
This football season has come so quickly after the 2019-20 season finished, how are you feeling?
Everything comes down to preparation. We had a structured rest and reintroduction before Project Restart and then we had UEFA preparing us with some more specific stuff before going to games in Germany and Lisbon, so following our final match in Lisbon, we got maybe a 10-14 day period where we got a bit of rest and then we had a three-week pre-season preparation period, so fitness wise, I'm feeling really good.
It must be different refereeing with no fans in the stadium, how have you adapted to this?
The atmosphere fans create at any match is part of the game and why people are involved in the game and enjoy refereeing and playing so much. I think refereeing in an empty stadium makes it harder because you can hear everything. For example, in a Premier League game you can hear every bit of contact, but every bit of contact does not make it a foul, that is something the whole of our group have been getting used to, judging what's a foul and what's not. It certainly changes the dynamic on how you make a decision sometimes.
And finally, where are you with your potential nomination to UEFA EURO 2020, now it is delayed until 2021?
The Euros have been put back and the decision of which refereeing teams would go to EURO 2020 was due not long after we went into lockdown, so obviously the aim is for myself and Michael Oliver to get selected and that whole selection process has effectively been extended by nine months, so it's not just about one match, it is every single match we are involved in with UEFA and they also take into account how you perform domestically as well.INSPIRED BY ANTHONY AND HIS TEAM? START YOUR REFEREEING CAREER NOW!