WRITING in The Daily Telegraph, columnist Jim White asks a serious question in the wake of Mark Clattenburg’s decision to travel under his own steam to officiate at last month’s match at The Hawthorns between WBA and Palace.
For doing so, he earned himself a suspension because it is a regulation that the four match officials are obliged to travel in the same vehicle to and from a Premer League match.
The customary practice is for them to meet up at a hotel and, at 12.30 on match day, leave together for the ground – typically a 20-minute ride – in a people carrier.
According to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited). This is “for reasons of integrity and security”.
But White asks: “What if, for instance, their vehicle had a flat tyre? All four would be late for the game and thus kick-off would inevitably be delayed.
” Surely it would be better for them to travel independently, then at least the game could start on time as they extracted a spectator from the stands to run the line (it wouldn’t be hard to find volunteers: every crowd is packed with those who appear to know the laws in far greater depth than anyone on the pitch).
The columnistsdraws a parallel with members of the Royal Family who never all catch the same plane when they travel abroad together.
He notes: “It is a simple, if macabre, precaution: if the aircraft goes down, they want someone left to continue the dynasty.”
As the appointments list confirms, Clattenburg is back in action this weekend (November 8-9).
Anthony Taylor: Liverpool v Chelsea
Mark Clattenburg: Burnley V Hull
Chris Foy: Man U v Palace
Michael Oliver: Southampton v Leicester
Jonathan Moss: West Ham v Aston Villa
Mike Dean: QPR v Man City
Lee Mason: Sunderland v Everton
Mike Jones: Spurs v Stoke
Craig Pawson: WBA v Newcastle
Phil Dowd: Swansea v Arsenal