Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 1°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Referee Clattenburg admits allowing Spurs to 'self-destruct' and lose the title

Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea proved key in handing the Premier League to Leicester City in 2016.

 Clattenburg dishing out a yellow card during the game in question.
Clattenburg dishing out a yellow card during the game in question.

FORMER PREMIER LEAGUE referee Mark Clattenburg has admitted going into May 2016′s infamous 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham with a “gameplan” in order to not be blamed for Spurs’ failure to win the Premier League title.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and went 2-0 up before the break, but they ultimately let that lead slip in an ill-tempered second half.

In total, Spurs picked up nine yellow cards to Chelsea’s three, while record fines of £375,000 and £225,000 were handed out to the clubs for failing to control their players.

On top of that, Spurs’ Mousa Dembele received a six-match ban for appearing to eye-gouge Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

Now the head of refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Clattenburg has admitted that he could have sent off three players and that he went into the match with the intention of letting Spurs “self-destruct” so he could not be blamed for them losing the title to Leicester City.

“I went in with a gameplan, that I didn’t want Tottenham blaming Mark Clattenburg that they were going to lose the title,” he told NBC’s Men in Blazers podcast.

“There should have been three red cards to Tottenham. I allowed them [Spurs] to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: ‘Tottenham lost the title’.

“If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title’.

It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Put to him that he had, to an extent, scripted the match, Clattenburg explained: “I helped the game. I certainly benefited the game by my style of refereeing.

“Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would’ve been looking for an excuse.

“But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my gameplan was: Let them lose the title.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

Match of the Day single out Ireland U21 defender Rice for performance against Man City

‘Go and see what he was doing when he was 40 years old’ – Silva hits back at Big Sam

About the author:

The42 Team

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel