EXCLUSIVE: Clattenburg sacked as referee told career is over for breach of contract
Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, one of English football's leading officials, has been sacked, Sportsmail can reveal.
The 33-year-old, who had been a Premier League referee since 2004 and was on the FIFA list, is believed to have been dismissed by his bosses at the PGMO, the referees' governing body, following a secret meeting in London.
Clattenburg â€” who is expected to appeal â€” has been sidelined since the start of the season over allegations involving his personal life and business debts. He has denied all the allegations was apparently told by his superiors he would never referee again because of a breach of contract.
Sportsmail first revealed how he was suspended after he was accused of sending an email threatening the family of a business associate. He was dropped from August' s Community Shield at Wembley just hours after the FA and the PGMO were alerted to the accusation.
An internal investigation was immediately launched into his business dealings and alleged debts of almost Â£175,000 and then, after receiving an anonymous letter, into his personal life.
Clattenburg denied the allegations and, in an interview with Sportsmail, insisted he would clear his name and return to football.
But at a meeting last Wednesday, officials are said to have informed him that he no longer had a future officiating top-flight football. He is believed to be the first referee in the modern era to be dismissed.
Last night, the Premier League said the â€˜disciplinary process' was ongoing.
But an insider confirmed: â€˜He was sacked at a meeting last Wednesday. He has since lodged an appeal against the decision so, as far as the authorities are concerned, the process is still ongoing.'
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: â€˜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.
Clattenburg, rated as one of the best young officials in the game, was removed from 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 by Eversheds.
When Sportsmail contacted Clattenburg in September, he said: â€˜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, when 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.
Born in Consett, County Durham, he worked as an electrician before becoming a full-time referee. He made his Football League debut aged just 25 â€” then a post-war
record â€” in August 2000.
In 2004 he was promoted to the Select Group and his first match at this level was Everton's 3-1 win at Crystal Palace. Two years later he made his way on to the FIFA list at the age of 30.
A Premier League spokesman said: â€˜The disciplinary procedure is still ongoing; therefore it would be inappropriate for us to offer any further comment at this time.'
Clattenburg refused to comment when contacted last night.