Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has railed against his old colleagues, lifting the lid on his animosity with Martin Atkinson, his "pathetic minions" and many other officials.

Clattenburg worked in the top flight for 13 years and also refereed the Euro 2016 final before hanging up his boots in 2017.

During that time he fell out with the likes of Atkinson, Howard Webb and Mike Riley, now the general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

The 46-year-old said he contested a "political war" with Atkinson due to his rival feeling threatened and "bitter", with hostilities escalating when they brawled during a game of five-a-side.

Mark Clattenburg frankly discussed his relationships with many former Premier League colleagues (


Laurence Griffiths)

"I caught him with a tackle. He threw a punch, and I threw a punch back," Clattenburg recalls in his upcoming book, 'Whistleblower', per The Athletic .

"From that moment, there was always a certain level of respect between us, but friendship was out."

Clattenburg also declared it was "pathetic" how Atkinson his own posse, adding: "You would be on a European trip and one of Atkinson’s minions would be with you as fourth official, and you knew he was reporting back to his master."

Clattenburg's tensions with Atkinson were indicative of his strained relationships with a number of his other colleagues including Graham Poll and Webb.

Poll had been one of Clattenburg's role models but reported him to the PGMOL for arriving at a match with a man bag.

"He said it was not appropriate for a referee," said Clattenburg. "But what was appropriate? Did you have to dress like a f***ing square? After that, I could not trust him."

Mark Clattenburg (far left) butted heads with Howard Webb (centre) and Martin Atkinson (far right) (


Christof Koepsel)

Webb, meanwhile, got on Clattenburg's bad side by ignoring his calls to go to a party after a Euro 2012 match.

"I did well for him in the Euros as an additional referee. However, when Howard doesn’t need you, he doesn’t speak," said Clattenburg.

"He’s very unique in this. Everyone sees Howard as a nice guy, and he is. I would never really criticise him as a person, he’s just someone I won’t engage with in the future because I don’t need Howard Webb, the same as he doesn’t need me. Which is fine."

Clattenburg criticised Poll and Webb further as he opened up on the former's exclusive 'Red Wine Club', adding: "Yes, there was the Red Wine. Yes, you had to be selected to get in.

"However, there was another group that all stuck together: (Phil) Dowd, Clattenburg, (Alan) Wiley, Dermot Gallagher, Deano (Mike Dean).

"All these people had respect for each other. There was no bitterness, no nastiness, whereas it was after the Webb era that it became a lot worse and really political."

Clattenburg's rocky relationship with Riley dates back to the early stages of his career refereeing European fixtures, when he served as fourth official for his colleague in the Champions League tie between AC Milan and Benfica in 2007.

Riley is said to have lost some speakers in his hotel room and accused Clattenburg of taking them. Moments before kick-off at San Siro, the latter found Riley rummaging through his belongings.

The speakers turned up some days later, with Clattenburg recalling: "Did he apologise? Of course he didn’t."

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