Referee Anthony Taylor has reflected on the "most challenging situation" of his career, when Denmark star Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed at the 2020 UEFA European Championship.
No one could have anticipated the shocking scenes at Euro 2020 when the match between Denmark and Finland was brought to an abrupt stop due to Eriksen's frightening cardiac arrest.
Taylor, the referee for the tie, has now opened up about officiating through such a devastating moment.
"It makes you realise how precious life can be. I was 10 metres away, looking directly at him. There was nobody near him. I could clearly see there was something seriously wrong," the English match official said, according to the Daily Mail.
"I've witnessed someone suffer a sudden cardiac arrest before, when I was refereeing Burnley and Newcastle. One of my colleagues, Eddie Wolstenholme, had a cardiac arrest in the changing room."
With the match between Denmark and Finland immediately suspended at the time, Taylor also revealed that Eriksen encouraged his teammates to return to the field and finish the game without him via a video call.
"I vividly remember just before we took the teams back inside. A security guy came to me asking permission for his [Eriksen's] wife to be on the field," he added.
"For me, an absolute no-brainer, of course it's OK.
"When it came to a decision over restarting the game, which is one that has obviously been debated, that was made in full agreement with both sets of players and federations.
"The players had spoken to Christian over FaceTime. Christian had actually said to them that they finish the game.
"It's certainly been the most challenging situation in my career but it highlights the importance of handling people and emotions.
"People think referees have no heart and are just there to ruin afternoons but the bottom line here is understanding how people feel and react.
"It is managing people and emotions rather than a split-second decision. My concern was for the players and my team.
"The real heroes are the doctors who did the compressions and [Denmark captain] Simon Kjaer who started it. My role shifted a little bit, you become central to crisis management.
"It is humbling to be praised but I reiterate – the only thing I did was get the doctors on."
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