English referee Anthony Taylor and his family were harassed by a group of Roma fans at Budapest Airport on Thursday after the Italian side’s defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League final.

Clips on social media show Taylor and his family being ushered out of a cafe and into a secure area by airport security after supporters hounded the referee following an ill-tempered final on Wednesday evening.

The clips on Twitter show a chair and bottle being thrown in the direction of Taylor and his group.

A statement from Budapest Airport said criminal proceedings had begun against a man who had been charged with affray after the incident.

It read: “Fans of the losing Roma team recognised the referee in the food court of the airport, where he was waiting for his flight to depart.

“Thanks to the airport operator’s close co-operation with the police and the increased police presence at the airport during the arrival and departure of the fans, the authorities intervened immediately, and the referee was escorted to a lounge and boarded his flight safely, accompanied by police officers.

“The Italian citizen involved in the incident was apprehended by the police and criminal proceedings have been initiated on charges of affray.

“There were no further disturbances at the airport following the police response to this isolated incident. Budapest Airport and the police wish to make it clear that there is zero tolerance towards violence of any kind towards passengers or staff working at the airport.”

The PGMOL said in a statement: “PGMOL is aware of videos circulating on social media showing Anthony Taylor and his family being harassed and abused at Budapest Airport.

“We are appalled at the unjustified and abhorrent abuse directed at Anthony and his family as he tries to make his way home from refereeing the UEFA Europa League final. We will continue to provide our full support to Anthony and his family.”

A Premier League spokesperson added on Friday: “We are shocked and appalled by the unacceptable abuse directed at Anthony Taylor and his family as they travelled back from the UEFA Europa League final. No one should have to suffer the inexcusable behaviour they had to endure [on Thursday].

“Anthony is one of our most experienced and accomplished match officials and we fully support him and his family.”

Sky Sports News has also contacted UEFA for comment.

Refsupport UK said: “This is so so worrying to see and we hope Anthony and his family are ok. This is why we believe organisations like the @LMA_Managers and the @PFA as well as the @WeAreTheFSA need to come out and condemn such behaviour in this country. Managers comments and players behaviour encourage this and it is on a worrying rise where a serious incident or murder is just around the corner.”

Sevilla won on penalties to condemn Roma manager Jose Mourinho to his first defeat in a European final after a match which saw Premier League referee Taylor dish out 14 yellow cards, the most in a Europa League game, and play almost 30 minutes of stoppage time in total.

After the game footage on social media showed Mourinho directing a string of expletives toward the officials in the car park, labelling their performance a “disgrace”.

Mourinho continued his criticism of the officials in his post-match press conference, saying: “I need to defend my lads, and I must say that we are used to it, but still seeing this kind of refereeing in a European final is really, really hard.”

Rather than backtracking from their criticism of Taylor, Roma doubled down and their general manager Tiago Pinto told Italian media on Thursday: “We at AS Roma don’t want to raise doubts about Sevilla’s merits. We believe that with our opponents we put on a great final and honoured the stage offered to us by UEFA in the best way.

“We don’t usually comment about these types of situations but we’ve analysed both the most glaring incidents and those seemingly less evident and it is clear that in disciplinary terms the refereeing of the match was not balanced.”

UEFA is waiting on the referee’s match report before deciding whether to take any action against Mourinho.

Ref Watch’s Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports News:

“I watched the footage and I couldn’t believe it. A referee who had one of the toughest games I’ve ever seen. From the start to the finish, he was challenged all the time.

“I believe he is one of the best referees in the world, who maybe missed out on the World Cup final because of England’s progress, has probably missed out on the Champions League final because of Man City’s progress and has got his reward in the Europa League final.

“It’s not the way you want to end a season, not the way to end a game. It’s terrible.

“It was tough from the first minute. If you think after three or four minutes, he’s had the incident where he’s got to go across to the corner because they’ve pelted the field with coins and such like. That set the tone for the whole match.

“There were so many challenges within the game and he rose to them, he stood strong.

“In extra-time, when you think he’s put up six minutes stoppage time for 15 minutes, then had to add on another four. That takes a lot of courage and willpower to do that and say, ‘in this environment, I’ve got to be strong, I’ve got to see it all out and see the job through’.

“There’s got to be more security, there’s got to be more protection for referees, there’s no doubt about that.

“But I also think education. You’ve got to educate people that referees are doing a tough job. It’s almost becoming impossible [to recruit referees] if this is the outcome. It’s a great career, I loved my 22 years as a referee, I know Anthony loves his role.

“But you don’t want to put yourself in this position and you certainly don’t want your wife in this position. It’s unacceptable.”

Source: Skysports

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