Former referee Mark Clattenburg admits he wanted England knocked out of Euro 2016

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Former referee Mark Clattenburg has admitted he wanted England knocked out of Euro 2016 while he was working at the tournament.

Clattenburg spent 13 years officiating in the Premier League and more than a decade as a FIFA-listed referee.

It was through his impressive work in the English division that he was called up by UEFA to assist with fixtures across the continent.

But when it came to major international tournaments, Clattenburg – who was born in County Durham – admits he had selfish reasons for not wanting England to go all the way.

Match officials are, for obvious reasons, not allowed to oversee fixtures involving their own country – which is why Clattenburg was praying for England to be sent home so he had a shot at taking charge of the final.

Mark Clattenburg admits he wanted England out of major tournaments early when he was a referee
(Image: Bongarts/Getty Images)

Discussing this year's refereeing representatives from England, Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor, Clattenburg suggested the pair needed "a little bit of luck" if they were to handle any of the big ties in the latter stages.

"For starters, you need England eliminated as quickly as possible," he told The Mail. "I'm a big England fan and it will be nice to cheer them on this time because in 2016 I wanted them out to clear the way for me.

"Any referee from any country would be lying if they said otherwise — we're all there to try to make the semis or the final."

Clattenburg was the man selected to officiate the 2016 final between Portugal and France after England had been dumped out by Iceland in the last-16.

He was almost denied that opportunity, though, by Wales' storming run to the semi-finals.

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"That was great for them (Wales) but if they'd got to the final my dream would have been over," he added. "So life as a referee at a major tournament is a bit of a rollercoaster — I was nearly crying when Wales beat Belgium in the quarter-final!"

England have, of course, seen a number of flashpoints involving referees over the years, with multiple red cards at World Cups, while their record at European Championships doesn't bear much better.

At Euro 2000, a late foul by Phil Neville saw the Three Lions dumped out by Romania in the group stage, while in 2004, Sol Campbell had another goal disallowed in the last minute against Portugal after his header against Argentina at the World Cup six years earlier was also chalked off.

Players heading into Euro 2020 will need to be wary of UEFA's rules regarding yellow cards if they do not wish to be punished with a suspension in the later rounds.

Article 52 in UEFA's handbook for the tournament states that a player will face a one-match ban if they pick up two booking in two separate matches during the group stage.

That limit is then increased to four bookings for those that progress to the knockout stage.

With seven matches to play for the competition winners, that does not leave much room for manoeuvre.

Who will win Euro 2020 this summer? Have your say below.

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