Referee Clattenburg swaps Premier League for Saudi Arabia

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In an unusual development, the Premier League match official is to join the ranks at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation

Referee Mark Clattenburg is set to leave the Premier League to join the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has announced.

Clattenburg has been the subject of speculation in recent months after admitting he could - like many star European players - be lured away from England by an offer from the Chinese Super League.

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Instead it is another relatively wealthy football region that has succeeded in tempting the 41-year-old to depart, although it is yet to be confirmed what capacity Clattenburg will be employed in.

His fellow former Premier League referee Howard Webb was appointed head of refereeing by the SAFF in August 2015, but is understood to have resigned this month upon accepting a role managing Video Assistant Referee (VAR) operations in MLS.

"The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation," the PGMOL said in a statement released via the Premier League on Thursday.

"Since joining the PGMO 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.

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"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."

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