He was reinstated on appeal, instead serving an eight-month ban for failing to keep his employers fully informed of the nature of all his off-field affairs, but it cast no aspersion on the quality of his officiating.
Since refereeing his first Football League match at the age of 25, then a post war record, Clattenburg has continued to rise through the ranks. He became a Fifa referee at the age of 30.
Even after his return from suspension he has effectively become England’s number two to Howard Webb on the global stage.
Clattenburg officiated in four matches at the Under-20 World Cup in 2011, was
the UK representative at the London Olympics and has joined Webb on the long
list for the 2014 World Cup in Rio. That position, along with his enduring
As the focus falls upon him, it has been suggested Clattenburg has forged an undesirable reputation among players and coaching staff as the overfamiliar referee who loves the limelight and is too ‘matey’ with the stars.
Although Clattenburg obviously has his detractors, this negative portrayal is
not universally supported by top Premier League performers, many of who are
shocked at the allegations directed at the official by
A brief canvas of opinion in football circles on Monday was far from damning in the appraisal of Clattenburg. In fact, most expressed surprise at the negativity aimed at an official who is evidently perceived as among the most accomplished referees, not only by the Premier League, but also a broad section of the players.
It is true there are many who believe the referee enjoys the limelight too much. “He is arrogant,” one unnamed manager told Telegraph Sport, in the most critical assessment of the official. “The best referees should not be spotted doing their job, but he is always seeking to be the centre of attention.” Another current Premier League manager who said he rated Clattenburg highly contested this view.
“I’ve never had a problem and have always thought of him as a very good referee,” he said.
Although Clattenburg is noted as one of the more informal officials, numerous top-flight stars who spoke to Telegraph Sport privately on Monday said they had no problem with his style of officiating and it isn’t undesirably distinctive from his peers.
At least one suggested the former electrician is "one of the best, if not the best around".
Clearly this is an unscientific study and opinions are divided, although one wonders whether any referees is universally liked or disliked — no doubt it usually dependant on how favourable the decisions for a manager or player’s own club.
A list of the more contentious moments of the 37 year-old his career are now being compiled — there are few officials who do not have a series of errors in their back catalogue — but for all the controversial red cards and high profile gaffes, none bare a resemblance to the serious allegations directed towards Clattenburg at Stamford Bridge.
Naming him as the referee who failed to notice Pedro Mendes's 40-yard shot had crossed the line at Old Trafford in 2005, for example, makes for critical reading but is somewhat harsh given the responsibility for that decision clearly rested with his assistant. Clattenburg was still in the centre circle with everyone else when Roy Carroll was flapping the goalbound shot back into play.
Former professionals talk romantically about an age where such ‘banter’ was once allowed between the officials and players, the reality is this is a euphemism to describe a period where abuse could be randomly aimed at the referee and little was done about it.
There is a more authoritarian line drawn in top games nowadays, some referees more amiable than others, and Clattenburg is indeed seen as more receptive to informality than most. There is no evidence this make him more unpopular than most.
The suggestion from players is that it amounts to little more than referring to them as ‘mate’ in a North East accent when a decision is taken, or even apologising when a mistake has been made.
It has led to a degree of incredulity at the nature of the allegations against the referee, Clattenburg not being recognised as an official who has previously used the kind of language attributed to him.
Whether that is the case or not, he is now the one who will be trying to convince the FA not to give him his marching orders.