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Referee Clattenburg 'was ready to walk away over Rooney elbowing incident

March 5, 2011 - London

There is anger within the English football refereeing community over how one of the country's best officials, Mark Clattenburg, is being treated.

The Tyneside official has been pilloried for not spotting Rooney's elbow at the DW Stadium last Saturday, but awarding a free kick.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, referees have revealed a huge desire for change and support for Clattenburg.

"Mark's been castrated by the FA," said one referee.

"I know he's felt about giving it all up," The Telegraph quoted another, as saying.

"The game has become so fast and we get one chance and one angle to see an incident. We, as refs, would like to be able to say to the FA, 'I've seen something but I'd like it checked by video'," said a third referee

What happened in the seventh minute of Manchester United's game at Wigan Athletic could have far-reaching ramifications.

Annoyed that James McCarthy was impeding his run to the distant ball, Rooney elbowed the Wigan midfielder.

"Mark was following the ball. You don't expect players to do anything off the ball because they know the cameras are watching," said a fourth referee.

Rooney clearly had done something. "What happened?" Clattenburg asked Rooney. "Mark, I caught him by accident," replied Rooney.

Clattenburg was subsequently criticised for appearing overly chummy with Rooney, almost trying to ingratiate himself with the England international.

"That's nonsense," said one referee who knows Clattenburg well.

"It's a myth that Mark was just being matey with Rooney. That's his man-management style. He also talked to McCarthy."


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