The Football League is saddened to report that Jack Taylor OBE, perhaps the finest English referee of all time, has died at his home in Shropshire at the age of 82.
During a refereeing career spanning more than 30 years, Taylor officiated in more than 1,000 matches, the majority in The Football League. He also refereed more than 100 international fixtures, most notably, the 1974 World Cup Final between West Germany and Holland in Munich, where he made history by awarding the first ever penalty in a World Cup Final.
Taylor also refereed cup finals in Europe, South America, Russia, South Africa and China and was inducted into FIFA’s Hall of Fame, an almost unheard of tribute to a match official.
After hanging up his whistle, Jack Taylor maintained his close connection with The Football League, initially working for Wolverhampton Wanderers before serving on The League’s Referees Committee and assisting its Commercial Department with its sponsor management.
In 2007 Taylor was awarded the Contribution to League Football Award at The Football League Awards in recognition of his lifetime’s service to the game.
In paying tribute to Jack Taylor, Football League Chairman Greg Clarke said: “Jack Taylor set the benchmark for refereeing, not just in this country but across the world and in later life he applied the same levels of integrity, commitment and sheer love of the game to his other roles in football.
“Very few people in football can match the contribution made by Jack Taylor and fewer still have managed to do it whilst retaining the respect and admiration of absolutely everyone they have come into contact with.
“He will be greatly missed by everybody at The Football League and its clubs and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, added: “I am extremely sad to hear of Jack Taylor’s passing and send my sympathies to his wife, other family members and friends.
“Jack was one of English football’s finest ambassadors who reached the pinnacle of refereeing and, until his very last days, continued to help the development of young referees.
“From our first meeting he remained a constant source of encouragement and I will miss him. The game has lost a great servant and a true friend.”
Mike Riley, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials said: “This is a terribly sad moment for English officiating and we send our condolences to his family and many friends. Every referee of our generation looked up to Jack Taylor because he set the standard. His performances at the 1974 FIFA World Cup inspired a whole generation of referees in this country.
“I was fortunate to travel to the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa with Jack for him to watch Howard Webb. He was incredibly proud that another Englishman had taken charge of the biggest game in world football. But then that was Jack, he was not only very well respected throughout the game by players and managers, he was also an extremely nice man and wonderful fun to be around.
“And he never stopped inspiring match officials. Over the last five years he has played an important role for PGMOL passing on his many years of experience to tomorrow’s referees. We will miss him greatly.”