Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has stunned officials by quitting the league in favour of a move to Saudi Arabia.
Clattenburg, considered one of the game’s best referees, is expected to officially announce the sudden departure before the next round of Premier League matches that take place on the weekend beginning February 25.
The 41-year-old last year officiated the Euro 2016, Champions League and FA Cup finals as testament to his stature within the game.
He stated late last year that he would consider a lucrative move to the Chinese Super League but now it seems the Middle East was a preferred destination.
It is unknown whether Clattenburg will take up a position as referee in the Saudi Professional League or higher up the food chain in a similar manner to Steve Bennett who is the UAE Football Association’s refereeing technical director.
Clattenburg is believed to have made the decision after growing frustrations over a perceived lack of support from the game’s governing bodies.