Mark Clattenburg Let Tottenham 'Self-Destruct' Against Chelsea At Stamford Bridge In 2016

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Midfielder Mousa Dembele was later banned for six matches as a result of a clash with Chelsea striker Diego Costa, while both clubs were fined for failing to control their players.

I was going to have much more to say about these extraordinary quotes from former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg - they are very real quotes; they are not a parody or a joke or from an article in the Onion or Daily Mash - but I ran out of time to actually listen to the whole interview yesterday and now the quotes are everywhere, so we might as well just put them up here as well.

Clattenburg has caused a stir by saying he went into Chelsea's game against Tottenham in May 2016 "with a gameplan" and "allowed Tottenham to self-destruct" in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs had to beat Chelsea to keep the title race alive but let a two-goal lead slip, with Clattenburg showing 12 yellow cards - nine to Tottenham players - in a bad-tempered affair at Stamford Bridge. "I want to try and educate and for people to understand", he told Sky Sports News. I've taken abuse for 13 years.

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"I don't regret what I did in that match". I used to give Clattenburg the benefit of the doubt, as I tend to give it to most referees since their job is thankless and nigh impossible, but these are extraordinary quotes from someone who gets paid far more (both in terms of money and attention) than he should to do a bad job.

Keith Hackett, who used to be Clattenburg's boss as general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, has been left baffled by the claims.

"I think it is a nonsense", he said.

"When I saw the comments, I thought: 'What's going on?' and so have other referees I have spoken to".

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"Let's not forget one thing, he was a fantastic referee".

"I expect referees to be prepared and focussed - that would mean knowing the teams, the environment, the possible tactics and potential adjustments to help perform at your best but, once you cross the white line, you have a blank canvas in terms of the decisions", he said.

"If there is a cautionable offence or a red card, you have to apply the laws of the game".

Either way, this is a fascinating insight into the psychology of a referee, particularly at the 42-year-old's level of the game. "There is no ducking the issue".

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