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Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has fled his home in Egypt in fear of his safety.
The Englishman moved to the North African country last summer when he was appointed as the country’s head of their newly created Referees Development Committee. His appointment was decided by officials at the Egyptian Football Association, as a bid to raise the heavily criticised levels of refereeing in the country.
Yet, Clattenburg has himself found himself on the end of criticism and abuse, particularly from Zamalek Sporting Club president Mortada Mansour. It is alleged that Mansour started a rumour that Clattenburg left his wife to start a gay relationship.
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According to The Sun, Clattenburg, 47, has decided to leave Egypt after receiving threats from Zamalek supporters. The abuse is believed to have begun following criticism about the country’s refereeing standards since his arrival in the country.
Mansour has been particularly stinging in his criticism of Clattenburg and was the source of the rumours of Clattenburg's sexuality, which have resulted in threats to the ex-Premier League referee.
Homosexuality is not strictly illegal in Egypt, but same-sex sexual activity is prohibited under the penal code, which criminalises acts of ‘indecency’, ‘scandalous acts’, and ‘debauchery’. Only men are criminalised under this law.
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It is also reported that the Egyptian league decided to change a host of Clattenburg's referee appointments on games, with concerns over certain decisions that were being made by some officials.
Egypt has traditionally flown referees from nations outside of Africa to officiate on their biggets games. However, Clattenburg struggled to convince other officials to fly over.
It is also understood Clattenburg is owed around two months wages – believed to be worth around £32,000 per month – while he has also felt misled by other events.
Egyptian lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr has demanded the Egyptian Prime Minister and MPs to launch an immediate investigation into the matter. Bakr stressed the potential damage this situation could do to the reputation of Egyptian football and sport as a while.
The Egyptian FA are believed to be planning an emergency meeting to find a replacement for Clattenburg.
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- Premier League
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