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Banned ref Clattenburg is close to final whistle after secret meeting discussion

The future of top Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg is hanging in the balance after he was summoned to appear before his superiors at a secret meeting.

The 33-year-old was dramatically suspended in August and dropped from the Community Shield match at Wembley after allegations that he threatened a business associate.

An investigation was launched not only into Clattenburg's personal life but also into business debts of almost £175,000 he is alleged to have run up. He has strongly denied the allegations, saying he can disprove each one.

Sportsmail can reveal that Clattenburg appeared before his bosses at the PGMO, the referees' professional body, two days ago to discuss further accusations relating to an alleged breach of his contract.

He denied them and another meeting will be held early next year to decide his future. Meanwhile, investigations will continue into his conduct.

The new development damages Clattenburg's hopes of returning to top refereeing and insiders believe the PGMO are unlikely to reinstate him.

Clattenburg's problems began days before the Community Shield, when a business associate involved in a legal dispute with the referee, who runs his own electrical firm, tipped off the football authorities after receiving an email he deemed to be threatening.

The email read: 'Check you can use our companies (sic) money to fund your legal crusade against me. If not, taking me to court might cause your family some pain.'

The recipient forwarded the email to a lawyer with the firm Eversheds on August 7 and within three hours the FA and PGMO had announced the referee's suspension.

(Carrol Howler: Ref failed to spot Roy Carrol had a parried a Tottenham shot into the Manchester United goal - robbing Spurs of a famous win at Old Trafford :D )

It is understood both bodies felt forced to act after seeing not only the email but also an anonymous letter highlighting other allegations relating to Clattenburg's personal life.

Clattenburg, rated as one of the best young officials in the game, missed the Manchester United-Portsmouth fixture on August 10 and, as the inquiry into his affairs continued, a computer he once used for work relating to his electrical business was seized.

The machine was examined by Eversheds and is believed to have revealed numerous visits to betting websites.

When Sportsmail contacted Clattenburg in September, he said: 'Every allegation that has been put against me, I have proved all the evidence against it. And I'll do exactly the same again. I'm innocent.'

Clattenburg's problems have escalated since his controversial performance in Everton's home match against Liverpool in October last year.

He received death threats after sending off Tony Hibbert and giving Liverpool a penalty when the defender fouled Steven Gerrard on the edge of the penalty area.

Clattenburg then ignored two penalty appeals against Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher and produced only a yellow card for Dirk Kuyt's two-footed lunge on Phil Neville as Liverpool won 2-1. Almost 3,000 fans signed an internet petition calling for Clattenburg to be stopped from officiating.
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