ANTHONY Taylor has been appointed as the referee for the 2015 Capital One Cup Final between Chelsea and Tottenham on March 1.
The 36-year-old from Cheshire will take charge when the two London rivals of the Premier League compete for the first major trophy of the campaign at Wembley Stadium next month.
He will be assisted by experienced linesmen Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) – who is set to retire at the end of the season – and Lee Betts (Norfolk).
Fellow Select Group referee Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) has been assigned to fourth official duties while the reserve assistant is Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire).
It will be Taylor’s first national final as a referee – and his second time as the man in the middle at the national stadium after handling the 2012 FA Trophy Final – although he was the fourth official for the 2012 League Cup Final and the 2013 FA Cup Final.
The Wythenshawe-based whistler has established himself as a regular and reliable choice for Premier League games in this his fifth season at the highest level of English football.
It is widely regarded among refereeing circles that the appointment is deserved based on a series of consistent performances in the past two seasons.
Taylor has only dropped into the Football League once in the current campaign – for the goalless draw between Midlands rivals Wolves and Birmingham at the start of November.
Overall, the Altrincham FC supporter has brandished 95 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded four penalties so far in 23 games in all competitions in 2014-15 – prior to the FA Cup tie between Blackburn and Stoke he is due to oversee this afternoon (14 February).
Only Martin Atkinson – who was in charge of last season’s League Cup Final – has officiated more top-flight games than Taylor’s 19 while he also sits third in the yellow-card count.
The Fifa official has recently attracted widespread criticism for some dubious decisions including booking Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas for an alleged dive under the challenge of Matt Targett during their 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Taylor then sent off Swansea’s Wayne Routledge on New Year’s Day – a decision his manager Garry Monk described as “baffling” – for reacting to an aggressive challenge from QPR midfielder Karl Henry which didn’t even receive a booking.
He also oversaw Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Liverpool in November and was criticised by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers for failing to award a penalty for a late handball by Gary Cahill.
His three Tottenham games already this term – against QPR in August, Newcastle in October and Crystal Palace last month – have scarcely yielded controversy although Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned the award of Palace’s penalty at Selhurst Park as his side lost 2-1.
Taylor began in the Northern Premier League in 2002 and advanced to the Conference in 2004 before joining the National List three years later with his first Football League match coming in League Two in August 2006.
Having established himself as a capable and highly-rated official, he was admitted to the Fifa list of international referees in 2013.
He also shared officiating duties at the Soccer Aid charity match – held every two years between England and the Rest of the World – last year with fellow Premier League referee Phil Dowd at Old Trafford.
Chelsea reached their first League Cup final since 2008 – when they lost 2-1 to Spurs after extra-time under Avram Grant – with a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool in the semi-finals.
Pochettino’s Tottenham earned their place in the showpiece by beating League One side Sheffield United 3-2 over two legs last month.
Both sides are bidding to lift the trophy for the fifth time and the 55th League Cup Final will be exclusively live on Sunday, March 1 on Sky Sports with kick-off at 16:00 GMT.
LAST 10 LEAGUE CUP FINAL REFEREES:
2014: Martin Atkinson
2013: Kevin Friend
2012: Mark Clattenburg
2011: Mike Dean
2010: Phil Dowd
2009: Chris Foy
2008: Mark Halsey
2007: Howard Webb
2006: Alan Wiley
2005: Steve Bennett