Referee Anthony Taylor opens up on taking charge of the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea

Anthony Taylor admits he was surprised to be asked to take charge of the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Tradition dictates that a referee should only be asked to take charge of the showpiece match once in their career, making it a high honour for anyone to be asked.

Yet this will be the second time that Taylor takes charge of the final, due to the fact that, with the game behind closed doors, the FA felt it would be unfair for a new referee to officiate without their family and friends present.

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Premier League referee Taylor says it still came as a surprise, especially with his previous final being between the same teams.

He said: “It was a little bit unexpected to get the call, having already refereed the FA Cup final a couple of years ago, so I’m very humbled and equally honoured to have been asked to take charge of the final again.

“It’s just an iconic occasion at the best of times, but this year is a unique one with no spectators.

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“We know there are different circumstances this year and the 2020 final will always be remembered because of this.

“It’s ironic that it’s the same clubs, but it’s now two different teams.”

Taylor admits it can be an intense experience to referee an FA Cup final but says it is also recognition for the hard work referees put in during their career.

He said: “Clubs who reach the final don’t get there by fluke, and whichever teams end up in the FA Cup final, it’s always going to be an intense occasion to officiate.

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