Referee Analysis

What void will Mark Clattenburg leave in English football?

Author: . Published: at 3:26pm

Written by Sam Royden @SamRoyden

What void will Mark Clattenburg leave in English football after becoming the Saudi Arabia’s new head of refereeing? The answer is a big void! 

In my opinion, Mark Clattenburg is one of the best referees and not only within the Premier League and Europe but in the World. Last season, Clattenburg officiated three of the biggest finals in European football: FA Cup, Champions League and Euro 2016. The last referee from the English FA to officiate two big competition finals in one season was Howard Webb in 2009/2010 season (Champions League and World Cup Final).

Clattenburg is a model for any aspiring referee, even those who have recently qualified as a Level 7/8 referee or are getting a promotion as an elite referee in the Premier League. Clattenburg consistently shows control and composure throughout games making the right decisions the majority of the time. Of course now and then he will make an error, but he is human after all and that is one thing that can be forgotten when anyone is scrutinising a decision which has been made, especially after us as fans can watch the decisions played back and forth in slow motion whilst referees can’t in real time.

One of Clattenburg’s biggest strengths along with his athleticism and decision making, is his communication and player management. When Clattenburg mades a decision, he is very animated with gestures and takes time to speak to players to get them to understand why he’s made that decision. You see a lot of referees in the Premier League make a decision, get flustered and then shy away from talking to the players and this ultimately leads to a lack of respect.

Clattenburg hasn’t shied away from controversy and in October 2014, Clattenburg was dropped from officiating for two breaches of protocol – speaking with then-Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock on the phone, before leaving a ground alone to drive to an Ed Sheeran concert. Also, last year Clattenburg got two tattoos on his left arm to celebrate refereeing the Champions League and Euro 2016 finals – this is why Clattenburg wears long sleeves or long sleeve under armour. 

After Howard Webb retired in 2014, there was a period of uncertainty within the PGMOL as referee standards dropped considerably over two seasons, however Clattenburg stepped up and filled Webb’s shoes very well. Now that Clattenburg has gone, there is an opportunity for a referee currently officiating in the Championship to make the leap up to the next level (the Premier League), or there is now the opportunity for the likes of Graham Scott and Paul Tierney to step up and make their mark on the season, after currently making 12 appearances between them so far this season. 




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  • Tony Ebsworth
    22nd February 2017 at 8:25 am

    Why would Clattenburg going to Saudi Arabia leave any kind of void … he’s a referee and should be anonymoous … an overrated referee at that and his big problem is he wants the limelight and thinks he’s a star … good riddance !!