FIFA reportedly denied English referee, Anthony Taylor, the chance to officiate the World Cup final on Sunday, December 19, over fears of Argentina questioning his impartiality.
While it’s been announced that Poland’s Szymon Marciniak will oversee the 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium, it’s been gathered that Taylor was never in contention to land the match over concerns of an English official officiating an Argentina game.
Before Argentina qualified for the final, Taylor was kept on in Qatar by FIFA when the likes of Michael Oliver returned home.
The Times reported that though there are no suggestions that Taylor might be influenced by his nationality, neutrality is however a top priority for FIFA.
English referees have been barred from taking charge of matches featuring Argentina due to fears of bias around the Falkland Islands.
The Falklands War may have taken place way back in 1982, but it remains a hot topic in Argentina. The Falklands have been a British crown colony since 1841, but the sovereignty of the territory in the South Atlantic remains disputed by Argentina, who sparked a war with Britain by invading.
Argentina made headlines after their 3-0 win over Croatia in the semi-final by singing a popular song, called Muchachos, which references the Falklands War. The song includes a line about the “f***ing English” and a reference to the Malvinas, the Argentine name of the Falkland Islands.
The song has been commonplace among Argentina’s fans in Qatar and was reportedly the most-played song on Spotify in the South American country this week.
Had Taylor landed the World Cup final, he would have been the first English referee to do so since 2010, when Howard Webb officiated Spain vs. Netherlands.
But he lost out to Marciniak who will be joined by fellow Polish officials Pawel Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz as assistant referees.
The 41-year-old is the first Poland native to be handed the job of refereeing the World Cup final.