Mark Clattenburg has made allegations of bullying against David Elleray, the former Premier League referee and current technical director of world football's law-making body, the International Football Association Board.
Clattenburg, the former Premier League referee, left English football in early 2017 to join the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. In a fine career, the 43-year-old refereed matches such as the Olympic men’s final and the League Cup final in 2012, as well as the 2014 UEFA Sup Cup, before culminating in a fantastic 2016 when he was in control of the FA Cup final, the Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final in the space of three months. Widely accepted as England’s finest referee at the time of his departure from the Premier League, Clattenburg was on FIFA’s long list to work at this summer’s World Cup, but he forfeited his place when leaving his job in the English game. And Clattenburg believes he reached the pinnacle of his job due to the ‘bullying’ he received by Elleray in his role as chairman of the FA’s referee committee.
Speaking to Gary Bloom on TalkSport’s On The Sporting Couch, Clattenburg said: “David doesn’t know it, but he was the one who spurred me on. “His negativity and his bullying - and I use the word bullying because it was a form of bullying - he was the one who pushed me to where I got, because his words always stuck in my mind”. When pressed to disclose what Elleray said to him, Clattenburg continued: “’I don’t want you to go to the next Euro, I want (Martin) Atkinson and (Michael) Oliver’, and I went ‘okay, thank you’. And every day I went to the gym all I could think of when that treadmill was hurting - and I was really, really hurting - was ‘I want to prove you wrong’. Because I’d just come back off the Olympic finals, but I wasn’t the perfect role model, I wasn’t the person they wanted [me] to be. [They wanted me to be] Martin Atkinson, Howard Webb - a politician. That’s probably what’s wrong with English refereeing; you just need to allow people to be themselves. Like a player, why would you want to take someone’s nastiness out of them?” Furthermore, Clattenburg alleges he was not supported by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and it’s general manager Mike Riley. “Maybe Mike didn’t rate me as a referee,” Clattenburg continued. “I don’t know you’d have to ask him. But I didn’t feel like I got the same [support]. I wouldn’t say picked on, but I think they wanted other people to succeed, they wanted other referees to reach the top”.