British referee praised for pausing Saudi football match during call to prayer

British referee praised for pausing Saudi football match during call to prayer
Football fans heap praise on British head of Saudi football refereeing after his 'respectful' gesture during a Saudi King's Cup game on Wednesday.
2 min read
26 Jan, 2018
Mark Clattenburg is a former Premier League and FIFA referee [Getty]

British football referee Mark Clattenburg has won the praise of football fans after he briefly paused Wednesday's Saudi King's Cup game between Al Feiha and Al Fateh out of respect to the Muslim call to prayer.

The game, which was played at the King Salman bin Abdulaziz City Stadium, had gone into extra time as the score was tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

About five minutes into extra time, Clattenburg blew his whistle as the call for prayer could be heard from a local mosque.

Footage from the game shows some of the players taking a rest during the pause, while others used the opportunity to leave the pitch for a couple of minutes.

Clattenburg, who is currently Head of Refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, was praised by football fans around the world who expressed their appreciation of the gesture.

"Thanks Mark Clattenburg We [sic] respected our religion and therefore we must respect you," wrote one Twitter user.

"What a top bloke Mark Clattenburg is. Stopping the game for the Adhaan (call to prayer)," said another.

Clattenburg, 42, is a former English Premier League and FIFA referee who has made a number of notable appearences, including at the 2016 UEFA Champions League FInal and the UEFA Euro 2016 Final.

Clattenburg took up the post as Head of Refereeing in Saudi Arabia in February 2017, replacing fellow Englishman Howard Webb.