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Mark Clattenburg Makes Remarkable Admission About 'Evening Up' The 2016 CL Final

Mark Clattenburg Makes Remarkable Admission About 'Evening Up' The 2016 CL Final
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In case the Premier League and Champions League tattoos on each of his arms were not enough to convince you that referee Mark Clattenburg's ego has long been loosed far beyond the acceptable limits for a football referee, today we have confirmation that it has.

Whatever about his vanities, readers of The Sunday Times have learned today that Clattenburg sees it as his role to redress the cosmic balance and aleatory misfortune, rather than, say, referee the game according to its rules.

David Walsh of The Sunday Times is writing today of a three-hour dinner with the erstwhile Premier League referee, Clattenburg makes a pretty incredible admission about the refereeing of the Champions League final in 2016.

Real Madrid beat city rivals Atletico on penalties, the game finishing 1-1 at the end of extra time. Sergio Ramos gave Madrid the lead, only for replays to show that he was offside, and that the goal should not have been given. In spite of that, it stood, but such is life: mistakes happen.


Atleti were given an opportunity to equalise, however: Fernando Torres was felled in the penalty area by Pepe, and Clattenburg awarded a penalty. Antoine Griezmann wallopped the penalty off the bar, however, (Carrasco would equalise for Atleti later in the game, before Real inflicted yet more misery on their rivals in the shootout).

Walsh quotes Clattenburg as admitting that he probably wouldn't have given the Atleti penalty had Ramos not scored a contentious goal.

Over dinner, he admits that if Real hadn't benefitted from a bad decision in the first half he probably wouldn't have given it [the Atleti penalty]. The best referees, he believes, make their decisions based on context and balance. This explains why there can never be "consistency" in the way football is refereed. It is the courage to apply the laws with empathy, says Clattenburg, that distinguishes top officials from those on the next rung on the ladder. Pepe, though, didn't think it was a penalty.

"Neither was Ramos's goal a goal", Clattenburg told him. "When Griezmann's penalty hit the bar I was pleased because it had been a marginal call. In terms of the big picture, the penalty restored balance and made for a better game. Afterwards Real and Atletico were very complimentary about my performance".

This is pretty astonishing by Clattenburg: in the biggest football match of the year, he admits to trying to deliberately obscure his earlier mistakes.

The notion that it his job to ensure a better game is wrongheaded, too. It's the referee's job to referee according to the laws of the game - and not be governed by something as subjective and inconsistent as "empathy" - and to ensure the protection and safety of the players on the field.


The full piece is in today's Sunday Times, on the back page of the sports section. It can also be read online here.

[sunday Times] 

See Also: Watch: Jamie Redknapp Compares Watford's Richarlison To Cristiano Ronaldo

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