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Referee Clattenburg dumps Premier League for Saudi dollars

EPL By: Linus Onyeze | 16/02/2017

Referee Mark Clattenburg pictured here with former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel in a Premier League game.

Controversial English Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg, will quit England and take up a role in Saudi Arabia, it has been revealed.

The 41-year old was previously linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, while a switch to the MLS has also been mooted.

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But Clattenburg will now turn his back on English football to take up the new role in the Middle East, the Mirror reports.

His decision is said to have stunned the Premier League with Clattenburg quitting before the next round of fixtures.

He took charge of the Champions League and Euro 2016 finals last season, as well as the FA Cup and got tattoos to commemorate his achievement.

The move has since been confirmed by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body in charge of referees in England.

"The PGMOL would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation," a statement read.

"Since joining the PGMOL Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow.

"His accomplishments are numerous and last season saw Mark achieve a memorable treble, on top of another consistently excellent season in the Premier League, as he officiated three major cup finals - the FA Cup final, the UEFA Champions League final and the UEFA Euro 2016 final.

"Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game.

"We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game."

His last game in the Premier League was a controversial one as Arsenal saw off Hull at the Emirates, with Clattenburg apologising to the visitors.