Football body condemns abuse of referee Anthony Taylor at Budapest airport

The Premier League referee was criticised for his performance in Wednesday's Europa League final between Roma and Sevilla in the Hungarian capital.

The Premier League official ushered his family past angry Roma fans as he attempted to leave Budapest airport Credit: Twitter / @momo50SSL

Refereeing body PGMOL says it is appalled by “unjustified and abhorrent” abuse directed at Anthony Taylor after video footage emerged of him being accosted by angry fans at Budapest airport.

Taylor and his family can be seen trying to evade a mob, who were shouting at him as he travelled home after refereeing Wednesday night’s Europa League final between Roma and Sevilla, in the Hungarian capital.

The Premier League official was criticised for his performance in the final by Roma boss Jose Mourinho, during his post-match press conference after the Italian side lost on penalties to Sevilla.

And in video footage which later emerged on social media, the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager is seen gesticulating at Taylor and officials in the stadium car park and heard saying “disgrace”.

Following the incident at the airport, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said in a statement on Thursday evening: “PGMOL is aware of videos circulating on social media showing Anthony Taylor and his family being harassed and abused at Budapest Airport.

“We are appalled at the unjustified and abhorrent abuse directed at Anthony and his family as he tries to make his way home from refereeing the UEFA Europa League final.

“We will continue to provide our full support to Anthony and his family.”

UEFA is awaiting Taylor’s reports before deciding whether to take action against Mourinho for his rant.

Taylor booked Mourinho during the game, which finished 1-1 after extra time before Sevilla sealed their seventh Europa League triumph by winning 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out.

Tempers simmered on and off the pitch in a disappointing final, with 13 players shown yellow cards, seven of them to Roma players, while fourth official Michael Oliver had his work cut out to keep control of both dug-outs.

The game was littered with delays, with a total of 25 minutes’ stoppage time added to the 120 minutes of playing time.

How bad is it for referees?

Referees report facing abuse at a grassroots level in the UK.

Data obtained by ITV News reveals that police were called to an incident in which a referee had been abused 64 times in 2022.

This suggests that a referee somewhere in the UK felt threatened enough to call police more than once a week last year.

That’s based on responses from 27 police forces in the UK out of 46, meaning the true figure is likely far higher.

Based on the responses, the most incidents were recorded in Manchester, with 8 calls to police.

In one of the more shocking reports, North Wales Police recorded a referee at a children’s football match assaulted and thrown to the ground by one of the parents.

An off-duty police officer there at the time helped the referee back to his car.

A BBC survey in February found 293 officials had been physically abused by spectators, players, coaches or managers out of 927 Referees’ Association members who responded to a survey.

The figure who had experienced verbal abuse was much higher – 908 out of 927.

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