Mark Clattenburg was one of the Premier League’s premier referees from 2004 to 2017, a lengthy span that coincided with much of the later period of Alex Ferguson’s time in charge at Manchester United.
Now, in an effort to defend current Premier League officials from criticisms from Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp suggesting United are seeing favourable officiating, Clattenburg has said that any refereeing bias in favour of United has eased.
It’s rather damning, and seemingly without being at all aware of it. Clattenburg saying a club get fewer favourable decisions now, since the days Ferguson was in charge and he was officiating.
“He is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions,” Clattenburg said of Klopp in The Daily Mail.
“There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.”
Clattenburg also, while admitting by his count five of United’s past 11 penalties have come from players inviting contact, suggests it’s hypocritical for Klopp to complain as Liverpool players may also invite contact in the penalty area.
Of course, even if one accepts that they do, too, the results would seem to speak for themselves: United are regularly being awarded penalties for such invitations of contact that Liverpool aren’t.
Whether it’s the result of bias or chance, it’s a reality the statistics appear to back up and that Clattenburg himself admits to having seen—alongside admitting that when he was a referee, United received favourable decisions.