Saturday, 27 May, 2017

Referee Clattenburg swaps Premier League for Saudi Arabia

Kristopher Love | 17 February, 2017, 00:59

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) released a statement today, indicating, that one of the top English referees, Mark Clattenburg says goodbye to English and European football.

The journal believes that the 41-year-old has been disillusioned for some time and even approached PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) before Christmas to advise them of the situation but they rejected his request stating that he had to give 12 months' notice.

Former referee Keith Hackett is expecting an influx of foreign referees in the Premier League to compensate for the lack of talent in England's top flight.

He is also expected to handle some league games after signing a one-year rolling contract.

"If it didn't happen now I will be looking in the future at that, a bit like Howard Webb has done [in Saudi Arabia] where you are helping another country develop refereeing".

Clattenburg said on the Saudi Football Federation's Twitter page on Thursday: "This is an important move forward". Mark has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grassroots of the game.

If these information are valid, it is highly likely that Clattenburg will follow his steps to be the head of refereeing in Saudi Arabia, altough there were reports earlier that Chinese Football Association tried to lure him to Asia, which was turned down by Clattenburg.

Its statement added: "We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark, and it further underlines the high esteem for English match officials throughout the world game". The ban was reduced to an eight-month suspension in February 2009.

He was also reprimanded by PGMOL boss Mike Riley in 2014 for breaches of protocol when he drove to Newcastle to see an Ed Sheeran concert after refereeing a Crystal Palace versus West Brom game and speaking to Palace manager Neil Warnock on the phone after the game.