Referee Clattenburg swaps Premier League for Saudi Arabia

Premier League fans distraught at the news their favourite ref could wave goodbye

English referee Mark Clattenburg will leave his job as a Premier League official to become Saudi Arabia's new head of referees, it has been reported by various outlets in England.

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has been director of referees for Saudi Arabian Football Federation, but he was hired last week by Major League Football to lead the development and progress of video technology for on-field officials.

And Hackett, speaking on the Hawksbee and Jacobs show, fears Clattenburg's departure has left the Premier League with a severe lack of top class referees.

England's leading referee leaves the game for role in Saudi Arabia.

"This is an important move forward".

He is widely regarded as one of the most professional referees in the game today, and has taken charge of a number of big games recently, including the Euro 2016 final, UEFA Champions League Final and the English FA cup final.

To the extent that it's possible for football referees to develop such a reputation, Clattenburg has come to be seen as something of a "bad boy" in his profession. The ban was reduced to an eight-month suspension in February 2009.

He was dropped for one weekend in 2014 because of breaking the protocol and leaving the venue alone after the WBA vs Crystal Palace match the previous weekend, in order to get back to Newcastle in time to attend an Ed Sheeran concert. Mark Hughes, then in charge at City, commented after the game: "I don't appreciate when the referees coming out for the second half start making comments about who they do or do not like in my team".

"Since joining the PGMO Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow".

"We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark, and it further underlines the high esteem for English match officials throughout the world game".

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