Clattenburg admits to ´gameplan´ in infamous Chelsea-Tottenham clash
Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has admitted going into May 2016’s infamous 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham with a “gameplan” in order to not be blamed for Spurs’ failure to win the Premier League title.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and went 2-0 up before the break, but they ultimately let that lead slip in an ill-tempered second half.
In total, Spurs picked up nine yellow cards to Chelsea’s three, while record fines of £375,000 and £225,000 were handed out to the clubs for failing to control their players. On top of that, Spurs’ Mousa Dembele received a six-match ban for appearing to eye-gouge Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
Now the head of refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Clattenburg has admitted that he could have sent off three players and that he went into the match with the intention of letting Spurs “self-destruct” so he could not be blamed for them losing the title to Leicester City.
“I went in with a gameplan, that I didn’t want Tottenham blaming Mark Clattenburg that they were going to lose the title,” he told NBC’s Men in Blazers podcast.
“There should have been three red cards to Tottenham. I allowed them [Spurs] to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: ‘Tottenham lost the title’.
“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.
Put to him that he had, to an extent, scripted the match, Clattenburg explained: “I helped the game. 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.