Mark Clattenburg was always a referee who divided opinion with his style of refereeing on the pitch, and his erratic behaviour off it. Now his claims about one of the most iconic games in recent Premier League history has put the controversial official back in the spotlight.
"The Battle of the Bridge" in May 2016 saw Chelsea fight back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Tottenham, in the process ending Spurs' championship hopes and securing Leicester's famous title victory.
Leicester City. Champions of England. pic.twitter.com/WRwfysTn2N— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 2, 2016
Clattenburg showed nine Tottenham players yellow cards in that game, but revealed to NBC's Men In Blazers Podcast that he could have sent three Spurs players off, but instead decided to let the North London side "self-destruct" so as to avoid any headlines accusing him of "costing Tottenham the title."
The former referee subsequently claimed that he was able to avoid influencing the result of the game, something that is difficult to believe given he chose not to send three Spurs players off.
Mark Clattenburg hit the headlines earlier today regarding 2016's Battle of the Bridge...— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) December 4, 2017
And now the former Premier League official has defended his comments when speaking to Sky Sports News.
Here's his response: https://t.co/7pqcZ2yDfP pic.twitter.com/rpAYGNe5RP
But as hard as those comments are to agree with, it is equally as hard to understand his claims that he went into the game with a plan to allow Spurs to "self-destruct".
Not only was he taking a risk that the game would indeed go in the direction he intended, he was also ignoring his main objective of refereeing each individual game as a one off.
As former referee Dermot Gallagher told the BBC: