The path ever more commonly walked by footballers in their autumn years is now seeing more traffic in referees too, with Clattenburg following in the footsteps of former colleague and Premier League match official Howard Webb in heading to eastward.
Having previously declared himself open to the possibility of refereeing in China, Clattenburg – a 12-year veteran of top-flight officiating in England – has now taken the plunge in Saudi Arabia.
But why? And what will life as a world-renowned referee be like in the middle-eastern kingdom?
The Saudi Arabian football league, you say…
Yes. Well, the Saudi Professional League – known as the Jameel League officially (sponsors are sponsors).
It was founded in 1976, when football became a national rather than a regional game in the country. The season lasts from August to May, just like the Premier League – though the Saudis only manage to squeeze in 26 matches as the 14 teams play each other only twice. Al-Ahli are the reigning champions.
Thanks to the sponsors, the league has this frolicking mascot – ‘Jameel’ (how do they think them up?) – to get everyone excited before a game.