Clattenburg appointed Referee Analyst by Nottingham Forest

Mark Clattenburg: Refereed in the Premier League for 13 years until 2017

Mark Clattenburg: Refereed in the Premier League for 13 years until 2017

FORMER Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg has joined Nottingham Forest as a Referee Analyst.

The 48-year-old, who is also the referee on TV primetime show Gladiators, was in the stands for Forest’s 2-0 win over West Ham on Saturday. Writing in the Daily Mail yesterday, he explained his new role, which is unique in English football.

"It is not unusual for clubs in other countries to use refereeing consultants, though the Premier League has never embraced this idea to my knowledge,” he said.

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"Until now, that is, because I’ll be working with Forest under the title of ‘Match and Performance Analyst.' I will help in the understanding of how and why certain decisions are made, prepare pre-match packs on the officiating teams taking charge of their fixtures, and one of my other main aims will be improving the relationship between the club and the PGMOL.

"It is no secret that Forest have been on the receiving end of controversial calls this season. There was Ivan Toney’s goal for Brentford when he moved the ball – and the referee’s foam – before scoring his free-kick. There was the harsh red card for Joe Worrall and penalty awarded for an apparent foul by Danilo against Manchester United.

"There was Willy Boly being shown a second yellow against Bournemouth even though he won the ball. There was the failure to award them an obvious penalty when Taiwo Awoniyi was tripped by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

"These are not insignificant incidents when you are a club trying to stay in the Premier League."

Forest Head Coach Nuno Espirito Santo welcomed the appointment, saying it could help him to better understand what was happening with VAR, in particular.

Santo felt VAR should have intervened in the 81st minute of the West Ham game, when Neco Williams had his heel stamped on by Maxwel Cornet. Referee Tom Bramall did not appear to spot that there was contact and, although VAR reviewed the incident for at least two minutes, there was no intervention.

“I have not seen him (Clattenburg) yet,” Santo said. “But what I expect is that somebody so expert and so good will give us a clear view and a clear opinion on what is happening.

“I think everyone in this room is asking that. For me, I am asking myself why. I can accept that the referee did not see it. But when we have VAR, when it is so obvious, what I expect from Mark is that he will be able to say ‘this is why that was obvious’.

“We should have had a penalty, yes. When something is so obvious, I cannot say anything else other than the truth. For me it is a penalty. Perhaps the referee did not see it. But if he has not seen it, VAR has to interfere and do something.

“They took two minutes to check it. After you have seen it, you ask yourself ‘why?’. Today the result was different. But that was not the case last week (against Newcastle), when the outcome was different.”

However, pundit Gary Neville ridiculed the appointment on Sky.

“To employ an ex-referee to tell you why you’re having decisions against you - for me, I think it’s a step too far,” he said. "This is not an attack on Nottingham Forest fans, because some of them will probably think it’s embarrassing. They won’t like the decisions against them, but I’m sure they won’t sit there and think that’s a really good move by the club.

"You’re being employed to go and tell a football club how referees are making mistakes or what mistakes they’re making. A fan in the crowd could go and tell you what a referee is thinking.

"I’m disappointed with Nottingham Forest. It’s as if, look at all of this, woe me.”

While this might be a new role for football, former England Head of Strategy and Performance Dave Reddin pointed out it was not a new role for sport. Reddin was fitness coach with Sir Clive Woodward's England when they won the 2003 Rugby World Cup - and another member of the staff was former referee Steve Lander.

Reddin tweeted: "New role for football. In 2001 Clive Woodward appointed Steve Lander (ex-Premiership and international referee) as advisor to the England Rugby team in exactly this role. It made a huge difference. Great to see it being picked up 23 years later!"

Reflecting on his side's success a decade after the World Cup win, Woodward said Lander's input had been invaluable.

"Our in-house referee Steve Lander used to do his homework on next week’s official and adopt his habits in training, refereeing every session in that particular style, whether it was focusing on binding at the scrum or handling in the ruck. He even used to look at the personality traits of the referee — how he likes to be spoken to or addressed, does he like an arm round him — and work closely with the scrum-half, the player who spends most time with the referee during the game."

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