By Noel Whelan

3rd Aug, 2020 | 8:00pm

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Noel Whelan has slaughtered referee Anthony Taylor for his “joke” of a decision to send off Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic in the FA Cup final.

The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that “football is going to end up being a non-contact sport” unless the referees start using common sense.

Kovacic was sent off for a second bookable offence by Taylor, 41, for a challenge on Dani Ceballos after 73 minutes to ultimately end Chelsea’s hopes of a comeback at Wembley.

The video assistant referee could not intervene as VAR is not allowed to review second bookable offences and can only rule on straight red cards.

Whelan claimed that the current set of referees in England lack common sense and insisted it must change.

“It was a joke,” he told Football Insider.

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“Both yellow cards were unnecessary and it was an extremely harsh sending off.

“Football is going to end up being a non-contact sport. Why can’t referees just let it go? He has just gone out there and ruined a cup final by sending somebody off for absolutely nothing. You still need an element of contact and aggression in the game.

“I just do not understand how referees can deem certain challenges as a yellow card. Common sense needs to come into play but not many referees seem to have that at the minute.”

A brace for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was enough for Arsenal to seal their record 14 FA Cup trophy.

The result books them a place in the FA Community Shield to face Premier League winners Liverpool on 28 August.

In other Chelsea news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider that ‘£50million’ international is ready for move to Stamford Bridge.