Mark Clattenburg will take charge of the Crown Prince Cup final in Saudi Arabia on Friday, ruling him out of the weekend's FA Cup quarter-finals.
Sportsmail can reveal that the 41-year-old will referee for the first time in the Middle East when Al-Nassr face Al-Ittihad at the 70,000-capacity King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. Clattenburg is working his three-month notice period with the Premier League before taking up a new £500,000-per-year role as head of referees in Saudi Arabia. And we also understand that the County Durham-born official could yet referee at next summer's World Cup. It was assumed that Clattenburg - who took charge of the Euro 2016 final - had passed up his chance of being involved in Russia after deciding to quit the Premier League last month having become disillusioned with the politics of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited. But we can reveal that refereeing chiefs - including FIFA/UEFA boss Pierluigi Collina - are exploring ways of getting the man voted the world's No. 1 whistler to the finals. As part of his new role, Clattenburg will set-up an exchange arrangement which will see referees from Europe's top leagues head to Saudi Arabia on one-off weekends - and in return he could be presiding over matches on the continent next season, opening the door for his involvement at the World Cup as a UEFA representative. He will not, however, take the place of Saudi's nominated referee, Fahad Al Mirdasi. Clattenburg - who turned down a £1m-per-year offer from China - will referee around 20 matches per season in Saudi Arabia, but it is thought he will also look to bring about several innovative changes in a bid to improve refereeing standards.
Source: Daily Mail