Premier League

Mark Clattenburg says he ‘allowed Spurs to self-destruct’ and hand Leicester title

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mark Clattenburg says he ‘allowed Spurs to self-destruct’ and hand Leicester title” was written by Guardian sport, for The Guardian on Monday 4th December 2017 12.27 UTC

Mark Clattenburg has said he “allowed Tottenham to self-destruct” with the way he refereed the club’s draw at Chelsea which handed Leicester City the title in May 2016.

Clattenburg booked nine Spurs players in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge but says he could have sent off up to three. The former Premier League official has explained that he went in with a “gameplan” which would avoid him being blamed for deciding the title.

“I allowed them [Tottenham] 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.

“If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title.’ It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.”

Tottenham led 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and needed to win to retain a chance of overhauling Leicester. Their midfielder Mousa Dembélé received a six-match ban from the Football Association for gouging one of the eyes of the then Chelsea striker Diego Costa. Spurs were two goals ahead when that incident, which went unpunished on the night, occurred. Both clubs were fined for failing to control their players.

“I helped the game,” Clattenburg added. “I certainly benefited the game by my style of refereeing. Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would’ve been looking for an excuse. But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my gameplan was: let them lose the title.”

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