The performance of Mark Clattenburg during yesterday’s FA Cup Final has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny, with his display not helped in the slightest by the appearance of the video attached below.
As you can see from the above clip, Clattenburg saw the former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in the Wembley tunnel prior to kick-off, happily embracing him with a hug and a smile. Some would suggest that such a gesture shortly before a fixture of such magnitude was unprofessional, but what was to follow was far worse.
Clearly well aware of the reputation Clattenburg has as a referee who favours the country’s “bigger” clubs, Fergie was filmed mimmicking the action of slipping a wodge of cash into Clattenburg’s top pocket, much to the hilarity of the pair.
No doubt, United fans the world over will claim that getting worked up over such an incident is ridiculous, but regardless of the obviously jovial nature of the Scot’s actions, serious questions have to asked over Clattenburg’s professionalism, given his readiness to indulge in such a potentially inflammatory moment of “banter”.
They may well get on like a house on fire away from the game and if so, good for them, but as a referee tasked with officiating biggest domestic cup game in the British football calender, Clattenburg’s mind should have been fully focused on the job at hand, rather than a potential embrace with someone who happens to be a figurehead of one of the teams in question so close to kick-off.
The man has been given the honour of refereeing next week’s Champions League Final, as well as being the English nominee for the European Championships this summer, and yet, he seems to approach each and every game as an opportunity to boost his personal profile rather than concentrating on his actual role in the grand scheme of the game of which he is a part.
Making fun of a potential bribe is simply pathetic, regardless of the circumstances.