Mark Clattenburg believes Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic should not have been sent off in the FA Cup final against Arsenal and explained why VAR could not have helped.
It was a close game that could have gone either way, despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second goal in the second half putting Arsenal in the lead.
But, as Chelsea were looking to find an equaliser, they went a man down as referee Anthony Taylor showed a second yellow card to Kovacic.
It arguably killed the game – and the referee understandably made headlines after the game.
Former Premier League referee Clattenburg highlighted how Taylor should not have overseen the final in the first place.
He wrote on his column for the Daily Mail: “An official is only supposed to oversee an FA Cup final once in a career but Saturday was Anthony Taylor’s second.
“The FA bent their rules because they didn’t want a referee to have his big moment ruined by his family not being there due to the Covid-19 restrictions.”
He also added that the Chelsea fans were right to be upset about some of the decisions, particularly Mateo Kovacic’s sending off.
“In the case of Mateo Kovacic’s second yellow card, Chelsea were wronged,” he added.
He argued that Taylor made the right decision to award Arsenal the penalty and only show a yellow card to Cesar Azpilicueta.
The defender “had a hand” on the Aubameyang’s shoulder as he went down inside the penalty box, but the Arsenal striker was not in complete control of the ball and Chelsea had another defender covering.
“The second yellow shown to Kovacic was poor, however,” Clattenburg said about his former colleague’s decision.
“It was a 50-50 battle for the ball and Granit Xhaka reacted theatrically.”
However, despite the debatable clear error, VAR did not have the authority to change Taylor’s decision in Kovacic’s case.
“Unfortunately, VAR could not correct Taylor because they cannot dispute second yellows — only straight reds,” he explained.
“Maybe this showed that VAR should have the power to study second yellows because this clearly had a game-changing impact.”