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Mark Clattenburg has revealed he was investigated for suspected match-fixing after being reported to his bosses by an unnamed fellow referee.
The former top official said he was told that Mike Riley, the head of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), had instructed Howard Webb, a former policeman who was then the organisation’s technical director, to look into matches in which he had performed below his usual standard.
He claimed that was after an unnamed referee had alerted PGMOL in 2015 after he had bought an Audi R8.
Clattenburg told The Athletic: “I bought a nice car because I had a good job. My wife had a good job. If I wore nice clothes, why not? If I bought a nice house, why not? But to be accused of match-fixing is an absolute disgrace. All because this guy had a hunch, apparently.”
Clattenburg, who worked in the Premier League between 2004 and 2017 and presided over the finals of the 2016 European Championship and the same year’s Champions League and FA Cup finals, refused to identify the “smiling assassin” he accused of having shopped him.
He said: “One day, it will come out because I’m not happy. Everybody thinks he’s a nice guy. But I can’t forgive what he did to me, all because I had bought an alright car. It was out of order. I’m annoyed because I wanted to expose the snake.”
He added: “I’ve refereed all over the world and English referees are known as the safest in the world. Even though we make mistakes, one thing we are not is corrupt. But if that allegation had come out, it could have finished me.”
Clattenburg, who is currently in charge of refereeing for the Greek Football Federation, did not hold back in his criticism of Riley and his other ex-colleagues, revealing he once had a punch-up with fellow official Martin Atkinson.
He said: “There was a big political war between myself and Atkinson. We never got on. We were playing five-a-side in the gym. I caught him with a tackle. He threw a punch, and I threw a punch back.
“From that moment, there was always a certain level of respect between us, but friendship was out.
A spokesman for PGMOL said neither Riley nor any of their officials wished to respond to Clattenburg’s claims.