Premier League referee leaves Euro 2024 after 32,000 sign petition following fierce criticism

Premier League referee Anthony Taylor.
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))

Premier League referee Anthony Taylor has reportedly returned home from Euro 2024, as he is not expecting to officiate the final in Berlin on Sunday, regardless of England's involvement. Taylor has been at the heart of a storm of criticism since Germany was knocked out by Spain in the quarter-finals.

Taylor was in charge of the match in Cologne where Mikel Merino's dramatic 119th-minute header secured a thrilling 2-1 victory for Spain. Dani Olmo, an early substitute, put Spain ahead before Florian Wirtz breathed life back into Germany with a last-minute equalizer during regular time.

Julian Nagelsmann's team believed they should have had a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot during extra time. Jamal Musiala fired a shot from the edge of the box that hit Chelsea's Marc Cucurella's hand, leading to fervent appeals for a penalty.

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However, Taylor dismissed these claims, ruling that Cucurella's arm was in a natural position, low and close to his body. UEFA later quelled the intense backlash against Taylor, supporting the 45 year old's decision to dismiss the penalty calls.

German media reported that he 'fled the scene' after the match, which only fueled the significant online abuse directed at him. The Mail reports that over 32,000 irate fans signed a petition demanding Taylor be penalised for his perceived error and calling for the quarter-final match to be replayed.

However, the report suggests that Germany's assistant Sandro Wagner did enter Taylor's dressing room seeking an explanation, but there was no heated exchange of words.

Despite the disagreement simmering down, it's unlikely that Taylor will officiate another match at Euro 2024, having returned to England recently. The slim possibility of being called up for Sunday's highly anticipated final in Berlin led him to make the decision to return home.

Italy's Daniele Orsato, who refereed England's quarter-final win over Switzerland, is a potential candidate to officiate the final, although no decision has been made yet.

The 48-year-old has experience with big matches, having refereed the 2020 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. Poland's Szymon Marciniak is also a strong contender, having officiated the 2022 World Cup final between France and Argentina.

Either Spain or France will face off against England or the Netherlands at the Olympiastadion, following the semi-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday.