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Mark Clattenburg admits he turned to alcohol to ease big match tension

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Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg admits he’d often turn to drink to overcome the tension around the biggest matches he’d officiate.

Clattenburg sensationally quit the English top-flight in February last year, taking up a role within the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and bringing an eventful career in English football to an end.

The 43-year-old was at the top of his game within European football at the time of his departure, officiating the FA Cup final, Champions League final and European Championship final in 2016.

But writing in his column for Paddy Power, Clattenburg says that he’d often struggle to get over any mistakes he’d made during a game, but alcohol helped.

“How do you release the tension around refereeing big games? Drink lots of beer!” he wrote.

“I used to call my wife after a game, and she’d know by my voice if I’d had a bad game or not.

“When I got home, she’d be in the bed and the fridge would be full of beer if I had a nightmare. If I’d had a good game, she’d wait up.

“It’s horrible after a game if you’ve made a mistake – it would be a horrible drive home. If you had a good game, you would want to listen to the radio stations talking about the match. But, if you’d had a ‘mare, you’d turn the Bluetooth on and play some music.”

Clattenburg also referenced the 2012 incident when Chelsea accused him of using racist language towards midfielder John Obi Mikel.

An investigation was launched, but Clattenburg was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

“The worst was when Chelsea played Manchester United, and I’d been accused of being racist by Jon Obi Mikel,” he said.

“I had to fly out of Heathrow and it was breaking news all over the world, having to deal with that and the aftermath while getting on the flight.

“I remember boarding and the guy sitting next to me said ‘you’re the referee aren’t you? F***ing hell, you’ve made some headlines’. You realise then how huge the impact football has.

“I couldn’t leave the house for the next week. To be accused of something you hadn’t done was difficult to deal with, because you get frustrated. You have to leave the investigations to run their course.”

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