UEFA Euro 2016-bound English Premier League referee Anthony Taylor will officiate at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens in May.
Taylor, 37, boasts a wealth of domestic and international experience having taken charge of Chelsea’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the 2015 League Cup final and Arsenal’s defeat of Chelsea in the 2015 FA Community Shield.
And having first visited Hong Kong for the 2013 Premier League Asia Trophy, Taylor will make a belated second trip this year having been forced to postpone an appearance at last year’s HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens due to commitments in the 2015 Europa League final between Spain’s Sevilla and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of Ukraine.
“This will be my second time refereeing in Hong Kong, but my first for the Soccer Sevens. The tournament is well publicised and very popular with teams from England, and the referees who have been before have had a fantastic experience,” said Taylor, who will be involved in UEFA EURO 2016 in France as an additional assistant referee.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Hong Kong as the last time I was over the weather was atrocious for the 2013 Asia Trophy, but I had a fantastic time.”
After starting his refereeing career in the regional Northern Premier League in 2002, Taylor progressed through the ranks, officiating in the Football Conference, the Football League and eventually the Premier League midway through the 2010 season before becoming a permanent fixture at the start of the following season.
Taylor then became a FIFA listed referee in 2013 and has since taken charge of a number of international fixtures, most recently the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier between Cyprus and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the UEFA Champions League tie between France’s Paris Saint-Germain and Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in December.
“Sevens football is very different to 11 against 11, and with fewer players on a big pitch, hopefully there is less chance of them getting near each other so I don’t need to get involved,” added Taylor.
“There are a few tweaks to the rules which adds its own challenges, and also with different nationalities of players, that can bring different challenges for us in terms of communication.”
Taylor will be joined in Hong Kong by former Premier League referee Mike Riley, who is currently the General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board in England.
Referees from the Hong Kong Premier League will also officiate at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens alongside Taylor and Riley.
“It’s always good to have a high-profile referee from the Premier League,” said HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Organising Committee Chairman Tony Bratsanos.
“We’ll allocate him some matches – those where we think we might need a stronger referee, and he’ll also do some of the junior tournament so the kids can have that experience too.
“The reason we can get these guys is because Mike Riley, the General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, has a longstanding relationship with us; he’s coming over again and will also officiate over the weekend.
“It will be extremely good for the local referees to learn from them too, and there will be a training programme where they can ask their questions.”