Now confirmed – Mark Clattenburg to quit as Premier League referee to go to Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/VznlSezDwS
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) February 16, 2017
English referee Mark Clattenburg has left the Premier League to join the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, an official announcement by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) states.
Clattenburg, although a divisive public figure, is without any doubt the most recognisable figure among his peers, evidenced by his role at the FA Cup final, Champions League finals, and UEFA Euros final, all within a period of about three months in 2016.
The 41-year-old has been signed on a one-year contract, and his duties—apart from standard refereeing ones—are to include development and implementation of strategies that will improve the quality of refereeing in the federation.
“This is an important move forward. We have professional referees in the country that I am leaving, which has been a big positive,” he said on a live Twitter broadcast on the Saudi Federation’s page. “One thing I’d like to do is work with the refereeing team and the president to make this happen so that it will be successful for many, many years to come.”
His departure is not one that will bring joy to most, as it means the English game can no longer boast of having the best referee in the world.