English referee Anthony Taylor is preparing to officiate in Thursday night’s UEFA Super Cup in front of up to 20,000 spectators in Budapest.
European football’s governing body is using the match – contested by last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners, Bayern Munich and Sevilla – as a pilot event for the return of fans, with up to 30 per cent of the capacity of the 67,215 all-seater Puskas Arena.
It remains to be seen how many will be in attendance. It has been reported that Bayern have sent back around 800 tickets from their 3,000 allocation, while reports in Spain state Sevilla have returned 2,500 of their 3,000.
Those returned tickets will not be put back into circulation for obvious safety reasons but tickets have also been on sale to Hungarian residents.
🏟️ ICYMI: UEFA Super Cup tickets are on sale now, with up to 30% of the stadium capacity available.
🎟️ Bayern and Sevilla will each receive an allocation of up to 3,000.
All details, including information on safety procedures, is available here: 👇
— UEFA (@UEFA) September 8, 2020
Taylor, a prison officer by trade, explained how handling matches without spectators in light of the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way referees manage matches.
“It’s been hard for everyone – referees, players and coaches,” the 41-year-old Manchester-based official told uefa.com.
“It’s hard for referees because you can hear everything when a stadium is empty. You can hear every contact, every noise (when players challenge each other or go into tackles), but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re committing a foul.
“We’ve had to get accustomed to this. It means that you’re changing the dynamic in how you take decisions.”
The 2020 Super Cup continues a distinguished set of appointments for Taylor, having previously officiated as an additional assistant referee in the 2014 Super Cup, 2015 Europa League final and both the European Championship and Champions League finals in 2016.
He will be accompanied by fellow Englishmen, assistant referees Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn, and video assistant referees Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney.
“I felt a mixture of surprise and delight when (UEFA referees’ committee chairman) Roberto Rosetti called to tell me that I’d got the Super Cup match appointment,” Taylor added.
“It’s a reward for the preparation, dedication and hard work that we’ve all put in over a long period. This appointment is not just about me – I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly without the team.”
Bayern’s Champions League victory saw the German club complete a treble last season for only the second time in their history, adding the trophy to their Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal success.
Like Flick, it was Julen Lopetegui’s first season in charge of Sevilla. It ended with the Spanish club’s sixth Europa League title.