Mark Clattenburg opens up over shock Premier League exit

first_imgMark Clattenburg has no regrets over leaving the Premier League to take up a teaching role with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.Clattenburg, 43, left English football in February 2017 following a year in which he had refereed the finals of the FA Cup, the Champions League and the European Championship in a three-month span.He departed to join the SAFF as their head of refereeing, replacing another Englishman, Howard Webb, in the role. When presented in a press conference, Clattenburg outline his job as being to improve and professionalise refereeing in Saudi Arabia, while he would also officiate matches throughout the country.Clattenburg’s 292nd and final Premier League match was a clash between Leicester and West Brom on April 29, 2017When his departure was announced, the Premier League did not rule out Clattenburg returning to referee in the division sometime in the future, but he has seemingly ruled out this ever happening.In an interview with Gary Bloom for talkSPORT’s On The Sporting Couch, Clattenburg has admitted he does not regret leaving the English top flight due to the pressure that came with officiating matches.“I didn’t regret leaving the Premier League,” Clattenburg said.“It was getting harder, and I would have refereed every game and it didn’t matter. If I refereed well, nobody said ‘Mark Clattenburg refereed well’ because everybody expected it, but when I did badly or something went wrong, they criticised me more.“People perceived me as the Champions League, as the best referee in the world. And I did win the ‘Best Referee in the World’ (in 2016), but people then wanted more out of you, and you can’t give more.”Though he does officiate matches in Saudi Arabia, Clattenburg has insisted his time as a referee at the highest level of the game is over.“The refereeing side of it is finished at the top level,” he added.“Somebody could say in 10 years’ time ‘you can run the PGOL’; I can’t say never because then you’ll hold me to that.“So I’m not going to close the door to that, but there’s too much politics in football and it needs to end.“It needs to be what’s good for refereeing, and if they did that with me they could have got the best out from me – even better [than what I was].“I don’t miss any of it any more. I don’t miss the pressure, I don’t miss that worry starting the game and wanting it to end as soon as possible, because that’s what it felt like.“The pressure is so big because you don’t want to make a mistake on the biggest stage.”You can listen to Mark Clattenburg’s full On The Sporting Couch interview with Gary Bloom on Sunday, June 3 from 6pm 2 You can listen to On The Sporting Couch with Mark Clattenburg at 6pm on Sunday, June 3 last_img

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