Referee Clattenburg banned over Ed Sheeran concert dash
Official twice breached protocol in his efforts to make pop concert on Saturday night
Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has been suspended for this weekend's round of games, after breaching protocol in order to get to an Ed Sheeran concert on Saturday night.
The official took charge of the game between West Brom and Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, but committed what The Sun calls a "crazy double offence" in his efforts to see pop singer Sheeran perform later that evening.
Firstly, Clattenburg travelled to and from the fixture on his own to ensure he could make a swift getaway after the game, and also had a private phone conversation with Palace manager Neil Warnock while he was alone in his car.
Referees are required to travel to and from matches with their assistants for the purpose of integrity and security and are only supposed to speak to managers, after a 30-minute cooling off period, face-to-face and in the presence of their assistants.
"Clattenburg will certainly be embarrassed at being caught cutting corners to get home from the Hawthorns in time to watch Ed Sheeran performing at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena, but the unauthorised contact with Warnock was viewed as the more serious breach of protocol," says the Daily Telegraph, and the Sun warns that it could even lead to an "extended suspension".
Since the retirement of Howard Webb after the World Cup, Clattenburg has become "England's top referee", says the Telegraph. "However, his career has been dogged by several serious controversies, including an eight-month suspension following an investigation into his personal life and business debts."
In 2012 he was accused, but later cleared, of racially abusing Chelsea's John Obi Mikel and last season he was exonerated over claims he told Adam Lallana that his attitude had changed after earning an England call-up.
Predictably, the nature of his offence led to much merrymaking on Twitter.
EXCLUSIVE footage of Mark Clattenburg at the Ed Sheeran concert! pic.twitter.com/GkAzVx19Pi
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) October 29, 2014
Scandalous that Mark Clattenburg's been suspended for a week for breaking protocol to go and see Ed Sheeran.
He should be banned for life.
— Alex Woo (@woolfc) October 28, 2014
Mark Clattenburg liking Ed Sheeran is the least surprising news ever
— Keir (@Kingkeir) October 28, 2014
Seems a bit harsh that referees are being picked upon for their musical tastes. Would Clattenburg have been stood down for Kings of Leon?
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) October 29, 2014