Belfast Telegraph

I allowed Spurs to self-destruct in crucial 2016 tie: Clattenburg

 

By Luke Brown

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has controversially claimed that he "allowed Tottenham to self-destruct" when he took charge of the club's 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the end of the 2015-16 season.

Spurs needed to beat Chelsea to keep the pressure on eventual champions Leicester City, but they blew a two-goal lead and had nine players booked in a tempestuous affair.

Both sides received fines from the Football Association for failing to control their players, while Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele was later banned for six matches after he was found guilty of poking the eye of Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

And, speaking on the NBC's Men in Blazers podcast, Clattenburg has controversially said he "went in with a gameplan" so that he could not be blamed for Tottenham losing the title.

Clattenburg, who quit as a Premier League referee in February to take up a lucrative position as Saudi Arabia's head of referees, said: "I allowed them to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: 'Tottenham lost the title'."

When asked if he had helped to 'script' the game, he replied: "I helped the game. I certainly benefited the game by my style of refereeing.

"Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would've been looking for an excuse.

"But I didn't give them an excuse, because my gameplan was let them lose the title."

Clattenburg also admitted that he frequently changed his style of refereeing when taking charge of European matches. He took charge of the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France, as well as that year's Champions League and FA Cup finals.

"The English style of refereeing is different," he added. "I had to referee differently when I went into Europe because none of the top players in Europe would accept some of the physical contact that went on in the Premier League."

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