English referee Mark Clattenburg will be quitting the English Premier League for a chance to officiate in Saudi Arabia.
Clattenburg is one of the best referees in the world and had a good 2016, officiating the FA Cup final, the UCL final and also the Euro 2016 final.
However, it is not yet known if the 41-year-old will see out the rest of the season or leave immediately.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) issued a statement in which they praised his contribution to the English game.
“PGMOL would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation,” it read.
“Since joining the PGMOL Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow.
“His accomplishments are numerous and last season saw Mark achieve a memorable treble, on top of another consistently excellent season in the Premier League, as he officiated three major cup finals – the FA Cup final, the UEFA Champions League final and the UEFA Euro 2016 final.
“Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game.
“We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game.”
He officiated his first match in 2000, a third division game at the age of 25, which is a post-war record.
And four years later he was already officiating in the Premier League. The Newcastle fan was in charge of the 2012 Olympic final in London, the 2012 League Cup final and the UEFA Super Cup in 2014.