Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has been punished for going to an Ed Sheeran gig.
…What, there’s more to this story? Does there really need to be?
OK then. Apparently, referees and their assistants must travel together to and from games, because it feeds their bromance and road trips are fun. Also, it helps ensure there are no Asian betting syndicate criminal masterminds hiding in the trunks of their cars underneath the bag with the cards and flags and whistle.
Clattenburg drove by himself to referee West Brom against Crystal Palace last Saturday because he wanted to get back home in time to go to a Sheeran concert 200 miles away in Newcastle that night.
Sheeran is this guy:
Clattenburg’s penchant for the twee indie-pop singer-songwriter has cost him dearly, as reports claim he has been red-carded from the next round of EPL fixtures as punishment for breaking travel protocol. He also spoke to Palace manager Neil Warnock from his car, another code breach because all the officiating crew are supposed to be present when they talk to managers, to act as a human shield, or something.
Obviously, talking to Warnock at any moment, let alone soon after a game, isn’t something any official would want to do. It’s possible Clattenburg was rushing to the concert for some mellow acoustic love songs just to de-stress.
At least the chances are that Clattenburg had a great time on Saturday night. The reviewer from the Newcastle Chronicle sure did: “Throughout the gig Sheeran never faltered, allowing his captivating voice and thought-provoking lyrics to speak for themselves, proving he doesn’t need a band or backing singers to entertain. In this case, less was more as he had the whole audience in the palm of his hands from beginning to end.”
If only Clattenburg’s own performances were as polished. As the Daily Mail underlines, this isn’t his first controversy. Or the second, third, fourth or fifth.