Top British football referee quits for Saudi job

Top British football referee quits for Saudi job
Mark Clattenburg ends his 12-year association with Premier League to become head of referees in Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
17 Feb, 2017
Clattenburgh refereed top international games in 2016 [Getty]

Premier League referee Mark Clattenburgh suddenly quit his job mid-season on Thursday to take up a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia.

Clattenburgh, who refereed top international games in 2016, will now replace Howard Webb as head of refereeing at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

The 41-year-old is set to combine refereeing games with his new off-field responsibilities in the Middle East.

"We decided to bring the best referee in the world," Saudi Football Federation President Adel Ezzat said on Thursday. "His job is the evaluation of referees, but at the same time he will have some matches to referee, between three to four matches a month."

Ezzat said the 41-year-old Clattenburg will take charge of the Champions League game between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain next month, but it is unclear if he will remain on the UEFA and FIFA lists. He was in contention for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"At the moment FIFA is waiting for some more information about the future of Mark Clattenburg," the global governing body told AP.

Clattenburg refereed the finals of the European Championship, Champions League and FA Cup last year.

Professional Game Match Officials, the organisation which provides and trains officials for the English leagues, said Clattenburg had been "setting standards for others to follow."

"Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game, and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game," the PGMO said.

"We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game."

Agencies contributed to this report.