Mark Clattenburg’s mission to ‘educate’ Saudi referees ends after 18 months

• English official criticised standard of officials
• Clattenburg could be replaced by Pierluigi Collina

Mark Clattenburg’s mission to “educate” referees in Saudi Arabia has ended after just 18 months, with the former Premier League official having been abruptly replaced from his £325,000-a-year post as head of refereeing.

Clattenburg, who succeeded Howard Webb at the Saudi Arabian football federation, was appointed in February 2017 with the intention that he would help professionalise refereeing standards across the country’s domestic leagues. However, with concerns mounting that there had been a lack of progress among its officials and criticism from the Newcastle-born official that local referees were not fit enough, the Saudi FA has now confirmed that the 43-year-old has been replaced as chairman of the referees’ committee.

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