Mark Halsey column: Chris Kavanagh called the Championship play-off final right… but fellow English refs must emulate Antonio Mateu Lahoz if they want to go deep at Euro 2020

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In the Championship play-off final, there were two key decisions that referee, Chris Kavanagh, got exactly right.

The first half penalty where Freddie Woodman brought down Bryan Mbeumo, and Jay Fulton’s 65th-minute red card for Swansea.

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Woodman made contact with Mbeumo, and the resulting penalty was absolutely the right call. The keeper wasn’t cautioned, again the correct decision, because it wasn’t a clear goalscoring opportunity and the direction of play was going away from goal.

Fulton did slip as he made the challenge on Mathias Jensen, however, he’d already made contact with the Brentford player and had no chance of winning the ball, thereby endangering the player’s safety.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey is a columnist for

The Champions League final was an excellent spectacle, a great game over 90 minutes. The man of the match for me was the Spanish referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

He was absolutely excellent, the way he managed the game, the way he managed the players, he let the game breathe and set his tolerance levels high, and that set the tone for the game.

He showed a lot of empathy. There was a big incident with a handball, and straightaway he explained why it was no handball, and that’s what you want to see from a top referee.

Mateu Lahoz during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester City and Chelsea

For me the talking point was the performance of the ref, and the way that VAR operated in the Champions League is totally different to the Premier League.

They’re very quick, very sharp, no lines being put down and decisions quickly made, with goals being given with those marginal offside decisions, and that’s what we want to see.

Going onto the Euros, there are many good European refs. Regarding our own Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver, it all comes down to their performance in terms of how far they go.

Oliver in my opinion is the best referee in the Premier League. Kuipers, Lahoz… there are some other very good referees who will want to officiate at the final, so the English refs are certainly going to have to be on their game if they want to go deeper into the competition.

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