High profile England referee, Mark Clattenburg, says he is open to joining the big-money football revolution in China as he looks to extend his career.
The 41-year-old who was announced as the best referee in the world at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai on Tuesday having officiated the FA Cup, Champions League and Euro 2016 finals during the past 12 months.
As China look to build their reputation in the sport, recruiting Chelsea’s Oscar and luring Argentine Carlos Tevez away from Boca Juniors in a deal worth a reported £615,000 a week, the renowned referee is looking at his own options.
He told The Associated Press, “China are certainly looking to develop their football, looking at their signings and their recruitment.
“If an opportunity came along – I am contracted to the Premier League – but I have to look at my long-term strategy of my career.
“How long can I last as a referee? I have been in the Premier League 12 years. It’s been a wonderful 12 years.
“There is no offer on the table but if they made an offer it would be under consideration. But at the moment I still enjoy working for the Premier League and UEFA.”
Clattenburg, who has been a regular match official for both the Premier League and UEFA for over 10 years, pointed out that big money wouldn’t be the lead reason for joining the Chinese Super League.
“Money has never been a driver as a referee,” Clattenburg added. “It’s about the drive of doing something different, maybe helping the recruitment.
“If it didn’t happen now I will be looking in the future at that, a bit like Howard Webb has done [in Saudi Arabia] where you are helping another country develop refereeing.
“It’s important to have the right quality of referee to go with the level of football. China is going to become a huge player in years to come … If they want to be serious about their league they are going to have to have the right setup. Refereeing is a huge part of football.”