Referee Mark Clattenburg quitting England for Saudi Arabia

English referee Mark Clattenburg. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Referee Mark Clattenburg quitting England for Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Mark Clattenburg, who refereed the top games in world soccer in 2016, suddenly quit the English Premier League on Thursday for a job in Saudi Arabia.
Clattenburg will replace Howard Webb as head of referees for the Saudis after the 2010 World Cup final referee was hired by Major League Soccer to lead the development of video technology for on-field officials.
Clattenburg, who first revealed his plans to leave England in a recent interview with The Associated Press, is set to combine refereeing games with his new off-field responsibilities in the Middle East.
“We decided to bring the best referee in the world,” Saudi Football Federation President Adel Ezzat said on Thursday. “His job is the evaluation of referees, but at the same time he will have some matches to referee, between three to four matches a month.”
Ezzat said the 41-year-old Clattenburg will take charge of the Champions League game between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain next month, but it is unclear if he will remain on the UEFA and FIFA lists. He was in contention for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“At the moment FIFA is waiting for some more information about the future of Mark Clattenburg,” the global governing body told The AP.
Clattenburg, whose departure date from the Premier League is yet to be announced, recently made the highly unusually step of publicly stating his desire for a job abroad.
“Money has never been a driver as a referee,” Clattenburg told the AP in December. “It’s about the drive of doing something different, maybe helping the recruitment ... a bit like Howard Webb has done (in Saudi Arabia) where you are helping another country develop refereeing.”
Clattenburg refereed the finals of the European Championship, Champions League and FA Cup last year.
Professional Game Match Officials, the organization which provides and trains officials for the English leagues, said Clattenburg had been “setting standards for others to follow.”
“Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game, and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game,” the PGMO said. “We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game.”
Clattenburg has been a FIFA referee since 2006 and was in charge of the Olympic men’s soccer final at the London Games in 2012.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”