‘Unintended friction’: Clattenburg leaves referee analyst role at Forest

‘Unintended friction’: Clattenburg leaves referee analyst role at Forest

Mark Clattenburg has stood down from his role as a referee analyst at Nottingham Forest, admitting he had become “more of a hindrance than a help” to the club.

Clattenburg has been at the centre of two major controversies involving the club since he took on the advisory role in February, first speaking out over a drop ball incident in a match against Liverpool and then criticising the officiating in Forest’s game against Everton on 21 April. On Friday he was also formally warned by the Football Association in relation to comments made about the latter match.

The former Premier League official issued a statement via the club’s official website, saying that providing services to the east Midlands side had caused “unintended friction” with other clubs and that he had become “more of a hindrance than a help” to Forest.

The FA asked Clattenburg, who writes a column for the Daily Mail, for his observations on the comments he made about the officials in the 2-0 defeat to Everton last month.

Clattenburg, who is also now well known as a referee on the reboot of the Gladiators television series, said: “Since February this year, I have been proud to have done so under a consultancy agreement between NFFC and Referee Consultant Ltd.

“I performed my services under the consultancy agreement in good faith, to the best of my abilities and in the hope of using my extensive experience as a match official to help NFFC understand how decisions in relation to key match incidents are made amid the workings of VAR.

“However, it is now clear that the existence and performance of these consultancy services has caused unintended friction between NFFC and other participants, to the extent that it has become more of a hindrance than help to NFFC. It has also led to the unmerited targeting of me, personally, by certain participants and pundits.

“Such reactions and outcome was not expected and is regrettable, as it is my sincere belief that there is a place for and value in such a role in the modern game.

“I am grateful to NFFC and wish them all the best during the remainder of the season and in the future. It’s been an honour.”

The club, Nuno and the full-back Neco Williams have all been charged with misconduct by the FA in relation to comments they made after the Everton game. In a statement, the governing body said: “It’s alleged that the club, manager and player’s comments constitute improper conduct in that they imply bias and/or question the integrity of the match officials and/or bring the game into disrepute.

“Mark Clattenburg has been formally warned as to his future conduct in relation to comments that he made after this game.” The club, Nuno and Williams have until Thursday to respond to the charges.

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Club sources said at the time of Clattenburg’s appointment they hoped he could become a “conduit” between the club and the referees’ body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). It was understood to be the first such appointment of its kind in the English game.

Clattenburg went to the mixed zone to speak to reporters after Forest’s defeat by Liverpool at the City Ground in March to point out that the referee Paul Tierney had made a mistake in giving possession back to Liverpool for an uncontested drop ball towards the end of the match.

Minutes after the 2-0 defeat to Everton on 21 April, Forest put out an extraordinary club statement criticising the failure to award them any of three penalty claims in the match. The statement added that Forest had warned PGMOL that the video assistant referee (VAR), Stuart Attwell, was a fan of relegation rivals Luton, but that they had not removed him.

It is understood Clattenburg had contacted PGMOL prior to the match to seek advice on how the manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, should respond if journalists asked him about Attwell’s affiliations, but that no request or suggestion was made by Clattenburg to move Attwell off the fixture.

Forest issued a further statement in response to events at Everton in which it called for PGMOL to consider “contextual” rivalries when making appointments, as well as longstanding local rivalries.

Source: theguardian.com