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It was confirmed yesterday that referee Mark Clattenburg had quit the Premier League, feeling that he and his colleagues were suffering from a lack of support from those high up in the Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

Clattenburg is said to have been unhappy with the way things are being run and reportedly told the referee's governing body his decision to finish up refereeing in the top flight before Christmas and asked for his contract to be terminated.

He stayed on for a bit longer because PGMOL normally ask for 12 months notice and rejected his request.

But the 41-year old has subsequently moved onto a new challenge in the form of a role in Saudi Arabia, where he will take on the position of head of referees for the football federation over there.

And his move means a huge increase in wages.

The Sun reports that as part of his deal as head honcho of officiating in Saudi Arabia, Clattenburg will earn £500,000 tax free every year - which is double what he was earning as a referee in England.

Clattenburg, who refereed the FA Cup, Champions League and Euro 2016 finals last year, is said to have turned down a massive £1 million-a-year deal to referee in China in favour of the role in Saudi Arabia - where he was unveiled in a press conference yesterday.

While most are of the belief that money is the only reason that Clattenburg has left the Premier League former referee chief Keith Hackett thinks an incident involving then Chelsea player Juan Mata in 2012 was partially to blame.

During a Chelsea game the referee was alleged to have used racist language towards Mata and Jon Obi Mikel and despite 'Clatts' being cleared, Hackett told the Daily Star:

"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."

Commenting on Clattenburg's departure from England, Hackett said:

"It's bad news for English refereeing. The Premier League has lost the world's best ref - it's a massive blow."

The ref from County Durham will continue to ref in the Middle East and will reportedly take charge of around 20 games a year when he takes over from Howard Webb as Saudi Arabia's head of referees.

His final game as a Premier League referee was in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Hull last weekend. Clattenburg sent off Hull's Sam Clucas late on and missed a handball from Alexis Sanchez for the opening goal.

Josh Lawless

Was once told that Ousmane Dabo was going to be a Manchester City legend.

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