Leading referee Mark Clattenburg is quitting the Premier League after 12 years to work in Saudi Arabia, it was announced on Thursday.
The decision of the 41-year-old Englishman, who has also officiated in a Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final, was made public by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organisation which provides and trains officials for the senior levels of the English game.
“The Professional Game Match Officials Limited would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation,” said a PGMOL statement.
“Since joining the PGMOL Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow.
“His accomplishments are numerous and last season saw Mark achieve a memorable treble, on top of another consistently excellent season in the Premier League, as he officiated three major cup finals — the FA Cup final, the UEFA Champions League final and the UEFA Euro 2016 final.”
The statement added: “Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game.
“We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game.”
In December, Clattenburg revealed he would consider working for the wealthy Chinese Super League, saying: “If an opportunity came along –- I am contracted to the Premier League –- but I have to look at my long-term strategy of my career.
“How long can I last as a referee? I have been in the Premier League 12 years. It’s been a wonderful 12 years.”