Monday 22 October 2018

Mark Clattenburg says he 'allowed' Spurs to self-destruct against Chelsea in 2016

Both Chelsea and Spurs were fined for their conduct. CREDIT: AFP
Both Chelsea and Spurs were fined for their conduct. CREDIT: AFP

Daniel Zeqiri

Mark Clattenburg admits he 'allowed' Tottenham Hotspur to self-destruct in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea that handed Leicester the title in 2016, in order to avoid negative headlines.

The former Premier League referee booked nine Spurs players in the ill-tempered Stamford Bridge derby, with Tottenham needing to win to maintain their challenge for the title.

Moussa Dembele was subsequently banned for six games after an altercation with Diego Costa, while Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier were also fortunate to stay on due to a succession of late challenges.

Speaking on NBC's Men in Blazers podcast, Clattenburg said: "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.

He added: "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."

Spurs squandered a two goal lead at Chelsea that night, with Eden Hazard's sumptuous late equaliser sparking frenzied celebrations among the Leicester squad who were watching the game on television.

Clattenburg stepped down as a Premier League official in February in order to become Saudi Arabia's head of referees.

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