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Clattenburg's 'Spotlight CV'

Meet Mr. Controversy, Mark Clattenburg, who just loves the spotlight.

Just when you feel one problem seems to going out of the way, another one just dives in to make it worse. For too long football has been linked with the idea of a man in the middle making decisions. On Sunday, the match between Chelsea and Manchester United was turning out to be a tense and interesting match until the 63rd minute, when Mr. Clattenburg issued his first red card on Branislav Ivanovic for a ‘professional’ foul on Ashley Young. Then, in the 68th minute he brandished another red card for Fernando Torres for simulation after he fell down from a challenge from Jonny Evans. He then awarded a goal that was offside from Chicarito Hernandez in the 75th minute. These were moments that changed the game, which resulted in many events on and off the field.

Meet Mark Clattenburg, regarded before this game by FIFA as a top notch official in the world. The Gosforth residing Clattenburg is no stranger to controversies, and can be considered as part of a breed of celebrity officials who just love the spotlight. Clattenburg however, has had a number of accolades in his rise to ‘celebrity’ status.

He refereed in the final of the Olympic Games between Mexico and Brazil and also officiated the League Cup final between Liverpool and Cardiff City. Clattenburg is also a Newcastle fan, but does not referee games which have Newcastle playing (so that’s an interesting fact). Clattenburg has also been noticed by FIFA and is expected to be the English representation at the 2014 World Cup. Job well done, Mr. Clattenburg, until now that is.

In his rise to celebrity status, Clattenburg has been guilty of some decisions that have had significant impact on the global stage. In January 2005, he failed to spot Pedro Mendes’ ghost goal against Tottenham in the 89th minute. It was not the hardest decision in the world and this provoked widespread indignation and even derision.

Manchester City had problems with Clattenburg in their 2009 league game against Bolton. Clattenburg asked the City bench at half-time: “How do you put up with Bellamy?”

Craig Bellamy was at his usual vocal behaviour in the first half. In the second half, Clattenburg took out his two favourite weapons, thereby sending him off. The first yellow card was for dissent and the second one was labeled under ‘diving’, when replays clearly showed that Bellamy was fouled. Mark Hughes was furious with Clattenburg and his behaviour with respect to Bellamy, and described the sending off as ‘laughable’.

He was also involved in a Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool that received huge criticism. He gave a penalty after Tony Hibbert fouled Steven Gerrard and was initially about to yellow card Hibbert. However, after an interaction with Gerrard, Clattenburg brandished a red for Tony Hibbert. In the same game, he didn’t send off Dirk Kuyt after a waist high lunge on Phil Neville. He never officiated an Everton game for the next five years.

We return to Old Trafford, in a game that saw Clattenburg at the center of attraction again. In 2010, he gave a goal that was scored under strange circumstances (the goal was correct under the rules) when Nani tapped in after Tottenham believed to have received a goal kick. Clattenburg was blamed for not giving the right signal and for his poor communication.

Off the field, Mr. Clattenburg is no stranger to controversies as well. Professionals Game Match Officials (PGMO) charged Clattenburg, stating that he would never officiate again after the referee breached his contract. Following the same incident, he was suspended after being accused of sending emails with death threats to business partners. He was also charged with having debts of $200,000.

Now, Chelsea has filed a complaint to the FA regarding Mark Clattenburg, stating that the referee racially abused John Obi Mikel and a Spanish player as well. Mark Clattenburg appears to have called a Spanish player – believed to be Juan Mata – a Spanish t***.

These racism comments come after a game that was played in the wake of the controversy regarding John Terry’s alleged racist comments to Anton Ferdinand. Mark Clattenburg added another controversy into his ‘spotlight CV’, but the hope is that it doesn’t hamper his career any more.

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