England are set to have no referee representation at next year’s World Cup for the first time in post-war history. Mark Clattenburg (photo), who retired from the Premier League list this summer, was on the pre-selected group drawn up by FIFA two years ago. But his money-spinning defection to Saudi Arabia looks to have ended any hope of the Euro 2016 Final referee officiating in Russia.
Fellow candidates Martin Atkinson and Andre Marriner, both 46, are also out of the running as they retire from FIFA’s international panel in December due to age constraints. Michael Oliver - the youngest referee to take charge of a Premier League game - is also likely to miss out. Despite being earmarked by the game’s governing body as a ‘prospective referee’, Oliver’s still waiting to be promoted to the Elite panel. It’s a blow to FA referees’ chief David Elleray, who is believed to have failed in an appeal to FIFA to add an English official to next year’s team.
England boasts an impressive track record of referees heading for football’s biggest global tournament. Four English referees (Reader 1950, Ling 1954, Taylor, 1974, Webb 2010) have taken charge of a World Cup final - more than any other country - with Howard Webb (photo) the last man to hold that honour. But news of their absence next year is a slap in the face for Webb and referee body PGMOL. Former World Cup referee Clive Thomas, who officiated at the 1974 and 1978 finals, said: “It’s a damning indictment of the standard of our referees. We used to lead the way, with Jack Taylor being the best. But now it seems we are following. Modern days’ refs in the Premier League make so many mistakes. Perhaps that’s due to them being more concerned about assessors in the stand than using their common sense to make decisions on the pitch”.
Source: The Mirror