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Unrepentant Clattenburg says comments 'taken out of context'

Chelsea and Tottenham players clash in 2016

London, December 5: Mark Clattenburg insists his comments regarding going into May 2016's infamous clash between Chelsea and Tottenham with a "gameplan" were "taken out of context", but he does not regret his approach to the match.

Clattenburg, who is now head of refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said on Monday (December 4) that he had gone into the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge looking to avoid a scenario whereby he would be blamed by Tottenham for them losing the Premier League title.

Spurs ultimately let a two-goal lead slip in what was an ill-tempered affair, with Clattenburg handing out a total of 12 yellow cards, though he admitted to NBC on Monday (December 4) that he could have sent off at least three players.

Clattenburg came in for significant criticism in the wake of his comments, but he says he does not regret the way he handled the match.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Clattenburg said: "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.

"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."

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 14:30 [IST]
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