Mark Clattenburg is considered among most circles as one of the top professional referees in the country but today Mark Clattenburg has announced his decision to leave the Premier League before the start of next season's fixtures.The 41-year-old has taken a post as Saudi Arabia's new Head of Referees.

Clattenburg's achievements

As one of the top referees in the game Mark Clattenburg has refereed a number of high profile fixtures including the FA Cup Final, the Champions League Final and Euro 2016 Final. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited have issued a statement praising his contribution to the English game.

He was described as 'an asset to the game ' and an 'inspiration to those wanting to get into refereeing at the grass roots'.

His post in Saudi Arabia has come about as Howard Webb, another highly respected English referee, resigned his post 11 days ago.

His story so far

After taking up refereeing as part of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in 1990, he became an assistant referee in the Northern League at the age of 18. Seven years later at the age of 25 he took charge of his first football league fixture. He was then promoted to the premier league's select group of referees four years later.

The controversies

His professional life, however, has not been without controversy. In 2008 he was suspended following allegations that he owed £60,000 in business debts.

As a result of an investigation, his professional status was revoked. However, following another investigation, this was reduced to an eight-month suspension most of which had already been served.

In October 2012 Chelsea FC made a complaint to the FA about Clattenburg using inappropriate language to the Chelsea player John Obi Mikel.

As a result, the Metropolitan Police launched an enquiry into the claim but found no case to answer as no further victims came forward. Nine days later the referee was cleared by the FA of any wrongdoing and returned to official duties later that season.

He ruffled more feathers this year by getting two tattoos to commemorate refereeing the Euro 2016 and Champions League Finals, although he has stated that he cannot understand why they should be seen as something negative as they are intended to be a celebration of his achievements.

His legacy

He has without question been one of the English game's highest profile and most respected referees and has shown great consistency throughout his career earning the respect of managers and players alike.