Clattenburg criticised for 'allowing Spurs to self-destruct' v Chelsea comment

Referee Mark Clattenburg shows a yellow card to John Mikel Obi of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016...

Mark Clattenburg has received plenty of backlash for what he said about the Chelsea v Tottenham match in 2016, which now includes Keith Hackett.

Referee Mark Clattenburg shows a yellow card to John Mikel Obi of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016...Referee Mark Clattenburg shows a yellow card to John Mikel Obi of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

Mark Clattenburg has been criticised by his former boss Keith Hackett for the comments he made about refereeing the Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur Premier League match in 2016.

In a game at Stamford Bridge that Spurs had to win to have any hope of catching Leicester City in the title race, nine players were booked as an ill-tempered affair which ended 2-2.

Referee Mark Clattenburg shows a yellow card to Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur after bringing down Eden Hazard of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and...Referee Mark Clattenburg shows a yellow card to Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur after bringing down Eden Hazard of Chelsea.

"I allowed them to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went, 'Tottenham lost the title,'" Clattenburg told NBC's Men in Blazers podcast.

However, the comments from the 42-year-old have received criticism from Hackett, who was the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board at the time.

"I think it is a nonsense," he told the Telegraph.

"It is disappointing to hear him say that he avoided giving a red card for his own self-preservation. When I saw the comments, I thought, 'What’s going on?' And so have other referees I have spoken to. He is one of the top referees and it is not something I have ever seen in him."

Referee Mark Clattenburg gestures during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and AFC Bournemouth at The Hawthorns on February 25, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.Referee Mark Clattenburg gestures during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and AFC Bournemouth.

Hackett has been a great supporter of Clattenburg in the past and regarded him as one of the best referees in English football, but is clearly not impressed by this recent admission.

Since the backlash aimed at the former official from the English top flight, the current head of refereeing in Saudi Arabia has been moved to speak publicly again and defend his comments.

"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," Clattenburg told Sky Sports.

"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."

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