Swansea boss Paul Clement backs referee Anthony Taylor after Burnley blunder

By Matt T
09 March 2017

Swansea boss Paul Clement has backed the decision to give referee Anthony Taylor a high-profile FA Cup tie this weekend.

Clement revealed he spoke to referees' chief Mike Riley about the Manchester official's performance at the Liberty Stadium after Taylor came in for heavy criticism for wrongfully awarding Burnley a penalty in their 3-2 defeat at Swansea last Saturday.

The ball struck the arm of Clarets striker Sam Vokes but Taylor gave Burnley a spot-kick in the match which came a few days after the official's stag do in Marbella, where he was joined by fellow referee Kevin Friend.

Leicester-based Friend was also involved in several controversial incidents during the Manchester United-Bournemouth game on Saturday.

However, it is understood the pair both received permission from their Professional Game Match Officials Limited employers to go to Spain.

"I actually called Mike Riley (PGMOL manager), but it wasn't to have a go - on the contrary," Clement said.

"Maybe I would have felt differently if the result had gone against us, but I told Mike that we can all make a mistake.

"I said: 'I want you to tell him that I do think he's a very good referee', he referees in the Champions League.

"I think they've got a thankless task sometimes because the other thing is not all players are honest.

"And with the speed of the game they can fool a referee into giving a decision."

Despite being under such scrutiny last weekend, Taylor and Friend will both be involved in FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Taylor is to take charge of Arsenal's clash with non-league Lincoln at the Emirates Stadium, with Friend taking up the fourth official role at the Middlesbrough and Manchester City game.

"That was the only thing in the game (he got wrong). If you are going to demote a referee it should be for a few mistakes," Clement said of Taylor's FA Cup appointment.

"It is a bit like with a player, if a player makes a few mistakes you drop him.

"If he makes one error you would not drop him immediately, it is different if you make a series of errors."

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