Mark Clattenburg is off to Saudi Arabia but money may not be the only incentive behind his Premier League exit.
The veteran Premier League official will take up a new role as Head of Referees in Saudi Arabia after cementing his reputation as one of the elite class of referees in world football, going on to officiate both the Euro 2016 and Champions League finals last term.
But his time in England has finished and one of the significant factors that persuaded Clattenburg to take the final decision to move was perhaps the lack of support he received during the 2012 incident between him and then-Chelsea midfielders Juan Mata and John Obi Mikel.
Five years ago, some reports emerged claiming that Chelsea had apparently alleged the Englishman called Mata “a Spanish twat” and Mikel “a monkey” during an eventful fixture against Manchester United.
However, an FA investigation later cleared the official of any wrongdoing but Clattenburg has always believed that he could have received more support during that turbulent point in his career. That’s according to Keith Hackett, former general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board.
“I think it’s down to poor management. There were incidents when the PGMOL haven’t supported or clarified decisions when they’ve needed to. Mark felt after the Mata incident no-one supported him. He was left high and dry.”
Clattenburg’s last match in English football came last weekend, when he officiated Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Hull at the Emirates. He will also not take charge of an FA Cup match this weekend.