The talking point of the first weekend of Euro 2020 was Christian Eriksen. Jason Pettigrove spoke to legendary former referee Keith Hackett about his thoughts on how Premier League referee Anthony Taylor handled the situation, as well as the other officiating flashpoints so far in the tournament.
In the Denmark v Finland game, we witnessed an English Premier League referee react quickly and positively to deal with a life-threatening crisis.
Denmark attacking midfielder and highly regarded former Spurs player, Christian Eriksen, collapsed to the ground with no one else in close proximity.
The official, Anthony Taylor, instantly recognised that there was a major incident and signalled, along with several players, to get the medical team onto the pitch as quickly as possible.
It took Anthony Taylor just 5 seconds after Eriksen collapsed to stop the game and send the medics onto the field.
His calm decisive actions can’t go unnoticed. 🇩🇰🙏 pic.twitter.com/1z4fHVu8oZ
— EUROs Tweet (@Football__Tweet) June 12, 2021
We then witnessed the Danish captain going through the recognised procedure to attempt to get Eriksen’s heart working again before the professionals were on the scene with defibrillators and oxygen.
Taylor used all his communication skills to keep both managers and UEFA officials updated before the players were ushered off the field of play and the match suspended.
I must applaud Taylor because he was terrific and remained calm and efficient throughout what was an extremely stressful and distressing incident.
Anthony Taylor remained calm and efficient throughout what was an extremely stressful and distressing incident.Keith Hackett
Procedures Produce Positive Results
Prior to every UEFA game there is a pre-match meeting that usually takes place on the morning of the game.
The UEFA Match Delegate and Ground Controller must meet with the match official, the Head of Medical and also the police and fire brigade.
UEFA run through the procedures for any emergency such has the one we witnessed.
This will include the position of key personnel, ambulances and fire engines in the stadium, as well as checks on the communication systems to ensure they’re operating correctly.
The planning also includes a countdown clock which operates on a minute-by-minute basis, and monitors the time that the teams and match officials leave their hotel, their arrival at the ground, warm-up timings etc.
Whilst it is a regular operation, for each game the procedures are dealt with very seriously, and on Sunday night we were made aware of the positive outcome to the Eriksen incident.
Bizarre Offside In Opener
The opening ceremony and game of Euro 2020 brought back memories for me of standing in the middle in Dusseldorf for the Euro 88 opener between West Germany and Italy (1-1).
Danny Makkelie from the Netherlands was the referee awarded this top honour, and he responded by delivering a fine performance.
However, I was amazed to see that he wasn’t alert to the error from his assistant,awarding an offside from a corner kick in the Turkey v Italy game.
The law is quite clear that you cannot be offside from a corner kick.
It was one of the most bizarre offside decisions I’ve seen for a long time, but this one moment shouldn’t detract from his fine overall performance.
I hope to see him appointed to another game later in the tournament, and he is certainly a contender to be awarded the final.
Finally, in the Netherlands v Ukraine match, the second goal that was scored by the men in orange should’ve been ruled out for offside.
There was a Netherlands player standing in front of the goalkeeper, and therefore interfering with play, whilst also being clearly offside.
With VAR in operation, I was disappointed that the clear and obvious error to award the goal by the referee did not see the VAR come in and rectify the decision.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 13, 2021