By Chineze Ogugua
Mark Clattenburg has revealed the real reason he quit refereeing in the English Premier League.
The 42-year-old made his Premier League debut in 2004, and said that a January 2017 match between Manchester United and Stoke City was the game that convinced him to depart after a tirade by Jose Mourinho in which he felt his team deserved more from the game which ended 1-1.
“I was refereeing the game when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s record and Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give,” Clattenburg said in an interview.
“I’d walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, it was always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match.
“To come off that match it felt immense that I’d actually had a good performance, and for him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen, that had clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind.
“I drove home 250 miles thinking I’d made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed, and I thought to myself, ‘do I really wanna be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’
“And I went soul-searching, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I had to get out.”
Clattenburg confirmed in February that he was leaving his role as a Premier League referee to become head of refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
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