Friday, December 8

FA investigates Tuchel’s ‘Chelsea have issues with referee’ comments | Thomas Tuchel

The Football Association is investigating Thomas Tuchel’s remarks regarding Anthony Taylor after Chelsea’s head coach suggested the referee should no longer officiate his side’s games.

Tuchel, who is already likely to be hit with a one-game ban after his extraordinary touchline clash over a handshake with Antonio Conte at the end of Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday, is facing the prospect of further disciplinary action by appearing to question Taylor’s impartiality. Both managers have been charged over the incident and have until Thursday to respond.

The German was furious after both Spurs goals were allowed to stand in controversial circumstances and he did not hold back with his criticism of the refereeing. Tuchel said the “whole dressing room” has a problem with Taylor, who has a history of infuriating Chelsea with his decisions about him. He went on to question whether the 43-year-old referee should be barred from taking charge of the club’s games.

The comments from Tuchel come less than a year after more than 80,000 Chelsea fans signed a petition calling for Taylor to be removed from their club’s fixtures.

The official has shown more yellow cards to Chelsea players than those from any other team. He has also shown red cards to Reece James and Mateo Kovacic and was criticized for failing to punish Manchester United’s Harry Maguire for an apparent stamp on Michy Batshuayi in February 2020.

That history bled into the game on Sunday. Tuchel’s first eruption came when Taylor decided not to penalize a Rodrigo Bentancur challenge on Kai Havertz in the buildup to Pierre-Emile Højbjerg making it 1-1 midway through the second half. He also argued the goal should have been ruled out for offside against Richarlison.

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However Mike Dean, the video assistant referee, decided the Spurs striker was not interfering with play and that his positioning had not affected Édouard Mendy’s ability to save Højbjerg’s shot.

Tuchel complained about the failure to give Havertz a free-kick and then clashed with Conte on the touchline. The managers had to be pulled apart and then received bookings.

Tuchel was later spoken to by the fourth official after charging down the touchline to celebrate James putting Chelsea 2-1 up.

The atmosphere on the touchline was intense and Chelsea were aggrieved when, before the corner that led to Harry Kane equalizing in the sixth minute of added time, Dean did not instruct Taylor to dismiss the Spurs centre‑back Cristian Romero for pulling Marc Cucurella’s hair.

Taylor had not seen the incident in real time and Dean’s view was that Romero had not committed a red‑card offense. The Argentine will not face retrospective action from the FA.

However, Tuchel does have a case to answer after his comments about Taylor. It was put to him that Chelsea fans have historical grievances with Taylor. “I don’t think that just some of the fans think that,” he said. “I can assure you that the whole dressing room, every single person thinks that.

“I cannot understand how the first goal is not offside. And I cannot understand since when players can pull other people’s hair and stay on the pitch and attack in the last corner.”

Tuchel, who said his players worry about Taylor, was asked whether the referee should be kept away from Chelsea. “Maybe that would be better,” he said. “Maybe it would be better but we also have VAR to help make the right decisions.”

Tuchel made light of his clash with Conte, but he is expected to miss the trip to Leeds on Sunday after his red card. “I cannot coach but the referee can whistle the next game,” he said. “Good.”

Conte, who also played down the row, faces the prospect of being banned for Spurs’ home game against Wolves. The Italian took another swipe on social media at Tuchel for charging past the Spurs bench and down the touchline to celebrate James putting Chelsea 2-1 up. “Lucky I didn’t see you … making you trip over would have been well deserved … ” he wrote on Instagram.

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