Mark Clattenburg has been dropped for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures after breaking protocol so he could watch an Ed Sheeran concert.
Press Association Sport understands Clattenburg drove home alone after officiating West Brom’s home game against Crystal Palace so he could get back to Newcastle to watch Sheeran perform at the Metro Radio Arena.
The rules of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), state officials must travel to and from the ground together to protect their integrity and security.
It has also emerged that Clattenburg broke another rule by speaking to Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock on the phone after the 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns.
The PGMOL insists a referee should only be allowed to speak to a manager 30 minutes after the game and that conversation must take place in front of his assistants.
After Clattenburg’s two errors came to light, the PGMOL board decided not to select the 39-year-old from County Durham for any top-flight games this weekend.
This is not the first time Clattenburg has found himself in trouble.
Five years ago he was sacked by the PGMOL following an investigation into his “private business affairs” although the punishment was reduced to an eight-month ban on appeal.
In 2005 he and his assistants failed to award Tottenham a goal at Old Trafford when Roy Carroll fumbled Pedro Mendes’ shot over the line.
Seven years later Clattenburg was accused of racially abusing Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during their match against Manchester United.
Clattenburg was cleared by the Football Association.
Last season he was accused of insulting Adam Lallana during Southampton’s 2-1 defeat to Everton, but again he was cleared.
With Clattenburg now dropped, Stuart Attwell has been handed Leicester’s home game against West Brom on Saturday. Attwell is no stranger to controversy himself.
In 2008 Attwell, after a discussion with his assistant Nigel Bannister, awarded Reading a goal at Watford even though the ball had clearly gone a yard wide of the net.
Saturday’s game at Leicester will be the 32-year-old’s first Premier League match in more than two years.