‘They haven’t got any personality’: Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg believes referees have changed in recent years… and worries about the ‘lack of leaders’ amongst the current top-flight group
Ex-Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has revealed his concern about the lack of leaders amongst the current pool of officials in the top-flight, who struggle to impose ‘any personality’ on games.
Sportsmail columnist Clattenburg, who refereed the 2016 Champions League final and Euro 2016 final, officiated in the Premier League for 13 years, from 2004-2017.
But with Howard Webb, Phil Dowd and himself having all retired in the last decade, the 45-year-old believes the next generation of referees are finding it difficult, particularly given the way in which the game is changing with VAR and technology.
Ex-Premier League official Mark Clattenburg says referees now ‘haven’t got any personality’
The current generation of referees, like Peter Bankes, are finding it tough says Clattenburg
Speaking to the Gary Newbon Sports Show with Jewson, Clattenburg said: ‘Now, the group is getting so old and most of the top guys have left. The younger generation are finding it difficult plus the game’s changed, especially with the VAR and the technology.
‘Referees aren’t the same anymore, they haven’t got any personality, they don’t communicate like we used to in our day, but maybe players have changed. The game does evolve, it does change.
‘But I don’t see any leaders, we already had leaders in our group in the Premier League. Graham Poll was a leader, Howard Webb was a leader, I took over the leadership for a period, [Martin] Atkinson led the group. But now there doesn’t seem to be any leaders and it effects the group that.
‘We always used to say the very first match on a weekend was the most important because that used to set the tone and most of the time one of the senior guys would do that to start the weekend on a positive note because if it starts off negatively, it would be negative feedback for all the referees.
Clattenburg was a top-flight official for 13 years but opted to leave the Premier League in 2017
Officials nowadays have pitchside monitors to replay decisions via the video assistant referee
‘But when you lose some of your top referees and they don’t referee 30 matches a season, it’s a big void to fill. There’s a lot of old referees who have been on the list too long – but have not refereed any top matches.’
Clattenburg departed the Premier League in 2017 to take up a role as Head of Refereeing with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
He then officiated briefly in China and now provides his weekly insight into the big decisions of the football weekend for Sportsmail.
The Gary Newbon Sports Show with Jewson, with @Punching.TV, and in association with MailOnline Sport, will be streamed live every Thursday #GNSS.