Southampton Right to Put Mark Clattenburg Row Behind Them

Mike MillerContributor IIIJanuary 10, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Referee Mark Clattenburg speaks to Calum Chambers of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

The FA have followed the lead of the Premier League and the Professional Game and Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) in clearing referee Mark Clattenburg of misconduct for allegedly using insulting language toward Southampton's Adam Lallana in the Saints' match against Everton in December, according to Joe Mewis of The Mirror.

In his prematch press conference on Thursday, Pochettino said that he was ready to put the incident behind him.

"I take full responsibility for what I said about that game but I think now it is time not to dwell on it, we get over it and we have to focus on the future," Pochettino said according to the Press Association via Yahoo! Eurosport UK.

With the matter apparently settled, it was time for Southampton to get on with things and concentrate on the rest of the season. To continue chasing a lost cause would just add further distraction and possibly be detrimental to the club in the future.

Referees are a close-knit fraternity. Harboring a grudge against one official may cause other officials to resent the club and not give them a fair shake on the pitch.

Southampton made their point, and PGMOL have a way of arranging match appointments to avoid putting their referees in a bad spot.

Back in 2007, Clattenburg made some controversial decisions in a Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool, including failing to award a penalty in the final minutes to Everton, who were playing with nine men, according to David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo. Clattenburg did not take charge of another Everton match since January 2012 and the match against Southampton was the first time he returned to Goodison Park since the incident in 2007.

Even though PGMOL and the FA have taken the stance that Clattenburg will be "considered for selection for all and any matches going forward in the usual way," it would be surprising to see the controversial referee take charge of any more Southampton matches this season.

Southampton also do not want to damage any relations with the FA. With a number of Saints players on the radar for selection for the 2014 World Cup, damaging relations may hinder those players' chances for a spot on the team in Brazil. Southampton are also one of the primary sources of players in the younger national teams.

While Nicola Cortese and the management of the club may still harbor bad-feelings toward Clattenburg, not wanting him to officiate any more Saints matches and requiring referees to wear microphones during games, Pochettino is putting a good public face on the situation.

"It would not be a problem if we had Mark Clattenburg again refereeing us," Pochettino said.