Mark Clattenburg has defended his recent controversial comments regarding a game between Tottenham and Chelsea in May 2016.
Clattenburg oversaw the ill-tempered game towards the end of the 2015/16 season in which Tottenham’s final chance to catch leaders Leicester went up in the smoke of Eric Dier trying to kill people.
Tottenham had a record nine players booked and both they and Chelsea were fined by the FA, but Clattenburg took credit for allowing Spurs to “self-destruct” at Stamford Bridge.
He has now defended his comments, claiming they were “taken out of context”.
“Many referees decide they don’t want to be the centre of attention, but if I’d have sent off three Tottenham players, the whole world would have blamed Mark Clattenburg for costing Tottenham the title,” he told Sky Sports News.
“That’s the balance that top-level officials have to try and achieve – what’s right for the game and the laws – and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand.
“I can understand, after the abuse I’ve had, why people don’t want to become referees. I’ve taken abuse for 13 years. When you’re a Premier League referee you’re not going to keep everybody happy, you’re going to upset some teams.
“Referees haven’t been allowed to speak for years. I want to try and educate and for people to understand. Yes, there’s words that have been taken out of context, and I could have used different words in some places.
“But I don’t regret what I did in that match. I thoroughly enjoyed the match. I came off the pitch knowing that I hadn’t influenced the result, and that was the most important thing.”