Referee Mark Clattenburg has quit the Premier League with immediate effect due to accepting an offer to become head of refereeing in Saudi Arabia.
Clattenburg, who refereed his first professional game at 25 in 2000, had been a Premier League official since 2004. He’s considered to be one of the finest officials in the game and had the privilege of refereeing both the Champions League and European Championships finals in 2016.
His career has been overshadowed by controversy at times, whilst he has also been the recipient of a lot of hate from fans across England.
According to The Sun, it is believed the 41-year-old became frustrated because he felt there was a lack of support from the officials’ governing body.
He has now signed a one-year rolling contract with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. His new role includes officiating league games, as well as helping to improve the performance of Saudi officials.
Clattenburg replaces another former Premier League referee, Howard Webb, who recently resigned from the position.
The Premier League officials’ governing body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), has since issued a statement wishing Clattenburg all the best in his new position.
“The PGMOL would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
“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.
“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 grassroots of the game.
“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.”
Fans across the country have posted their reactions to the news on Twitter, with most rejoicing at the fact Clattenburg will no longer be officiating Premier League games.
No great surprise Mark Clattenburg has quit English football mid-season. For some time he has acted as if he's more important than the game.
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) February 16, 2017
Can we declare this a public holiday now that clattenburg has buggered off.
— Hof (@TheHof182) February 16, 2017
Clattenburg gone? Hooray. Cost us too many points
— Sarah (@SarahJB1989) February 16, 2017
Re #clattenburg Good riddance to bad rubbish. Consistently bottles big decisions: So scared of getting big calls wrong he doesn't make them.
— Gareth Mercer (@RedDevilDisco) February 16, 2017
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena