Date: 8th February 2010 at 11:56am
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The very first league game at Bolton`s Reebok Stadium was mired in controversy. A goal that should have been given wasn`t.and the Whites were relegated at the end of the season. Everton, the opponents that day, survived on goal difference.

That was an honest refereeing mistake, but Mark Clattenburg`s decision to cancel out a legitimate strike against Fulham on Saturday was far more sinister and represented the culmination of a four-year vendetta by the match official against Kevin Davies. Clattenburg indicated that Davies had pushed Brede Hangeland, but replays showed that the Bolton captain hadn`t raised his hands.

Such blatantly unfair treatment is nothing new. Clattenburg almost always books Davies, but allows defenders to foul him without punishment.

Davies has at last spoken out publicly on the subject: ‘Every time he referees us, I don’t expect to get anything,` he told Sky Sports. That assessment is accurate, but the problem has existed for years and Bolton`s management should have raised it with The Professional Game Match Officials Board a long time ago.

This season`s relegation scrap will go to the wire. The two points lost against Fulham could prove crucial. If Bolton go down, the difference in revenue will amount to tens of millions of pounds. That shouldn`t be down to the whim of a referee with a grudge.

Clattenburg has been suspended once because of his business dealings. It`s now time to launch an investigation into his conduct on a football pitch

 

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