Mark Clattenburg reportedly did not feel the support of the referee governing body
Mark Clattenburg called time on his career as a Premier League referee yesterday, announcing he would be switching to the Saudi Arabian top flight.
The shock move raised questions as to why the No 1 ref in the country – who has overseen World Cup and Champions League finals – would want to leave.
And according to former referees' chief Keith Hackett, the 41-year-old jumped ship due to a lack of support from PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited).
Clattenburg was alleged to have called ex-Chelsea man Juan Mata a "Spanish t**t" in 2012 and John Obi Mikel a "monkey".
Mark Clattenburg was accused of calling Juan Mata a "Spanish twat"
He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Football Association, but the incident reportedly left the official feeling unsupported by PGMOL.
"It's bad news for English reffing. The Premier League has lost the world's best ref – it's a massive blow," Hackett told the Daily Star.
"He's 41 and had nine more years ahead of him – but he's not the first young ref to leave.
"Howard Webb and Mark Halsey both quit early and you have to ask, 'what is going on?'
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"I think it's down to poor management. There were incidents when the PGMOL haven't supported or clarified decisions when they've needed to.
"Mark felt after the Mata incident no one supported him. He was left high and dry.
"I was doing lot of talking to him at the time and it's how you manage people and how you manage personalities.
"That's a part of the skillset that's lacking at the moment."