Juan Mata Was Part Of The Reason Mark Clattenburg Leaving England
It's come to something when the biggest news story in football in the last 24 hours has been a referee moving from England to Saudi Arabia but such is the world that Mike Dean has created. Now there's a new twist in the Mark Clattenburg 'saga'.
A couple of months ago there was talk of the Chinese Super League going after the Premier League's biggest names, and not the players. Referee Clattenburg was linked with a move to go and officiate in the Far East.
He suggested he had thought about the move and wouldn't rule it out, he'd presumably be on a lot of money. However it's not the Far East that Clattenburg has moved to but instead the Middle East to become Saudi Arabia's head of refereeing.
And whilst most are of the belief that money is the only reason the 41 year old has left the Premier League former referee chief Keith Hackett thinks an incident involving then Chelsea player Juan Mata in 2012 was partially to blame.
During a Chelsea game the referee was alleged to have used racist language towards Mata and Jon Obi Mikel and despite 'Clatts' being cleared Hackett told the Daily Star:
"I think it's down to poor management. There were incidents when the PGMOL haven't supported or clarified decisions when they've needed to.
"Mark felt after the Mata incident no-one supported him. He was left high and dry."
Hackett also revealed that he believes the loss of Clattenburg, who refereed the FA Cup, Champions League and European Championship finals last summer will be a blow to English football:
"It's bad news for English refereeing. The Premier League has lost the world's best ref - it's a massive blow."
The ref from County Durham will continue to ref in the Middle East and will reportedly take charge of around 20 games a year when he takes over from Howard Webb as Saudi Arabia's head of referees.
Clattenburg is sure to be missed by lots of fans...