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Anthony Taylor blasted by former referee for his performance in Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat

Former referee Keith Hackett says VAR should be ’empowered’ to do more after Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal.

In the second half of the Gunners’ 2-1 win, Blues midfielder Mateo Kovacic was sent for an early bath after a trip on Granit Xhaka.

Anthony Taylor gave the Croatian international a second yellow card and most have disagreed with that decision.

But VAR could not step in. The technology is only empowered to overturn straight red cards, but that must change, according to Hackett.

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“In the second half, with Arsenal leading 2-1, Chelsea had Mateo Kovacic sent off for a challenge that the referee Taylor mistakenly decided deserved to be punished with a yellow card, the Croat’s second of the game,” he wrote in his Telegraph column.

“In my view, you could not describe it even as a foul on Granit Xhaka and, at worst, the challenge was careless as opposed to reckless. Which meant that it certainly should not have been a booking.

“Television viewers and no doubt Stuart Attwell, the Var, would have agreed on watching the replay. But Attwell could not call for a review because a Var intervention is not permitted for a yellow card.

“The rule takes its lead from the disciplinary process, which similarly prevents clubs from appealing against bookings. This incident showed that on this point the law falls down, however.

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“The Var should be empowered to highlight a mistaken second yellow card. The technology is there: let’s use it as best we can. As it was, the FA Cup final is a huge game and the decision had a significant impact on it.”

Hackett went on to slam referee Taylor for his ‘habit’ of handing out cards, the 41-year-old official also sending a Chelsea man off in 2017 when the Blues also lost the FA Cup final to Arsenal.

“I was not entirely surprised that Taylor got the decision wrong,” he added. “He is a fine referee and had a good game. His positioning and work rate was exemplary and, to his credit, he allowed the game to flow early on.

“But, once a game has settled down, Taylor has a habit of reaching for a card too quickly. You get the impression that, at key moments, he would benefit from taking an extra moment or two to think through a decision.”

Hackett did give Taylor credit for some of his other decisions, though.

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