Mark Clattenburg Set To Call It A Day As A Premier League Referee
Mark Clattenburg is set to call it a day as a Premier League referee, with reports suggesting that the 41-year old will quit in a decision that could be finalised before the next set of Premier League fixtures.
The Sun report that Clattenburg, widely considered to be the best referee in England, has grown frustrated with the lack of support he and his colleagues are receiving from those higher up. The consensus is that he is also unhappy with the way in which the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) is being run.
Clattenburg reportedly told the referee's governing body his decision to finish up refereeing in the top flight before Christmas and asked for his contract to be terminated.
He stayed on for a bit longer because PGMOL normally ask for 12 months notice and rejected his request but now looks set to call it a day and move on to a new challenge.
The official has already talked up the possibility of going to the Chinese Super League.
Speaking to Rob Harris from The Association Press at a football awards ceremony, he said:
"China are certainly looking to develop their football, looking at their signings and their recruitment.
"If an opportunity came along - I am contracted to the Premier League - but I have to look at my long-term strategy of my career. How long can I last as a referee? I have been in the Premier League 12 years. It's been a wonderful 12 years.
"There is no offer on the table but if they made an offer it would be under consideration. But at the moment I still enjoy working for the Premier League and Uefa."
A move to China, where he would be refereeing the likes of Carlos Tevez, Axel Witsel, Oscar and John Obi Mikel, is a real possibility but there are several other options for Clattenburg.
Taking on Howard Webb's role as part of BT Sport's football coverage has been mentioned, while there have also been offers from the MLS and the football federation in Saudi Arabia.
Clattenburg will not be officiating an FA Cup fifth round tie this weekend and there are no Premier League games until the weekend commencing 25 February, meaning he could well have already taken charge of his last Premier League fixture - he was the man in the middle for Arsenal's 2-0 win over Hull City last weekend and sent off Sam Clucas in the latter stages of the game and failed to spot Alexis Sanchez's handball for the opening goal.
He is believed to be in talks with relevant parties about a financial settlement.
Clattenburg took charge of both the Champions League and UEFA Euro 2016 finals last year and famously marked his achievements by getting the trophies tattooed on his wrist.
UPDATE: News has broke that Clattenburg will head to Saudi Arabia for a role there.
PGMOL have since issued a statement confirmed Clattenburg's move to Saudi Arabia: