Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Grossly unfair' - Anger as Manchester-based ref is chosen for Red Devils' clash with Liverpool

David Smith

Published 11/10/2016 | 16:23

Anthony Taylor will take charge of Liverpool v Manchester United
Anthony Taylor will take charge of Liverpool v Manchester United

Former head of professional referees, Keith Hackett, has branded the decision to put Anthony Taylor in charge of Liverpool v Manchester United on Monday night as "grossly unfair".

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Taylor has been appointed to referee the upcoming game at Anfield, despite living just six miles from Old Trafford.

The English referee reportedly supports Altrincham, but the decision has caused uproar on social media nonetheless, with Liverpool fans slamming the decision to allow an official from the local Manchester area to take charge of a game against their bitter rivals.

Hackett, former head of Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, feels the decision was a poor one and made his feelings known on his own website, You Are The Ref.

"No-one is questioning Anthony’s integrity or his ability to handle this game," said Hackett.

"You could argue it’s testimony to his unflappable character and capacity to focus that he’s been appointed to it. But what if something goes wrong for him on the day – as it can for even the finest referees?

"That’s when the focus on him would be intolerable, especially if a controversial incident has gone in favour of Liverpool and it influences the result.

 "If that happens then it would be those who appointed him who must take the blame for taking such an avoidable risk – on a weekend when Mark Clattenburg, the 2016 Champions League final referee, is holding up a board as fourth official in another match.

"It is a small slice of what can be expected if things go wrong for Anthony – and his bosses – in the game itself.I sincerely hope that he has a very good match – for any number of reasons."

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