Rio Ferdinand has joined the chorus of condemnation against the actions of Roma supporters who attacked Anthony Taylor and criticized UEFA for not ensuring the referee’s protection.
Anthony Taylor faced a hostile encounter with irate Roma fans at Budapest Airport after Roma’s manager, Jose Mourinho, unleashed a profanity-laden tirade against him in a car park. Taylor had officiated over Roma’s penalty shootout defeat to Sevilla, following a 1-1 draw in which 14 yellow cards were issued.
Roma’s anger towards Taylor stemmed from his decision to order a retake of Gabriel Montiel’s penalty, as Rui Patricio had strayed off his line to save the initial attempt. On the second attempt, the Sevilla defender converted, securing the seventh Europa League title for the Spanish side and leaving Roma supporters disappointed.
The disgraceful scenes at the airport have been widely condemned, with former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand expressing his concern on Twitter. He remarked, “Wow… I hope Anthony Taylor and his family are okay after that bulls***. How has he been left to walk without security? All of the authorities have to start thinking worst-case scenarios the way things are. These thugs should be held accountable asap.”
UEFA, the governing body of European football, has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident, which appeared to have left Taylor and his family shaken. Eventually, they were escorted to safety by airport security, but not before a plastic chair was thrown in their direction.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), responsible for match officials in the UK, released a statement in support of Anthony Taylor. It read, “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.”
Former host of Soccer Saturday, Jeff Stelling, added his voice to the discussion, suggesting that Jose Mourinho’s actions and words contributed significantly to the disgraceful behavior directed at Anthony Taylor. Stelling emphasized Mourinho’s track record as a repeat offender and called for the strongest possible punishment.
In his post-match comments, Mourinho had expressed frustration at Taylor’s decision not to send off Sevilla midfielder Erik Lamela, who later scored in the penalty shootout. Mourinho stated, “We care about the shirt, we care about our nature, we take things seriously, work with humility, and give everything we have to give. Each of us reacts in a different way, one cries another doesn’t, but the truth is we are all very sad. We return dead tired, dead with the feeling that it is unjust. It was an intense, masculine, vibrant game with a referee who seemed Spanish. It was yellow, yellow, yellow all the time. The injustice is shown by the fact Lamela should’ve had a second yellow, he didn’t, and he converted a penalty in the shootout.”