Mark Clattenburg, one of the Premier League’s top referees, is reportedly ready to walk away from football, according to SunSport.
The 41-year-old is frustrated with the lack of support from the officials’ governing body and has been weighing up a move away from England, to referee in the MLS or China.
SunSport also revealed that Clattenburg approached Professional Game Match Officials Limited (the group that officiates all Premier League matches) to ask to be released from his contract before Christmas.
The group rejected his request and want the Englishman to give them 12 months notice before ending his contract.
However, Clattenburg is now ready to shock the top flight and walk away anyway and could even do it before the next round of Premier League fixtures.
He is unhappy with a number of issues surrounding refereeing in England, including the PGMOL management style and lack of quality coaching on offer on top of the poor support he receives.
Clattenburg, who took charge of last season’s FA Cup, Champions League, and Euro 2016 finals, was not given a match to officiate in the FA Cup this weekend.
The fifth round has thrown up some big ties, including Fulham vs Tottenham, Wolves vs Chelsea and Sutton United vs Arsenal.
The Premier League resumes the following week and it’s not known if Clattenburg will be in the centre of any pitch come then.
SunSport suggests that an announcement over the referee’s future is imminent, with his colleagues fully aware of the situation.