Michael Oliver could be the next referee to leave England in search of a better payday after Mark Clattenburg announced his decision to move to Saudi Arabia.

While some tabloids opted to call Clatts ‘greedy’ it’s hard not to have sympathy with him. His basic salary as a PGMOL Select Group referee is £97k-per-season – a hefty salary for most of us – but pocket change when you think of the money available in football these days.

A referee of Clattenburg’s standard can boost this to around £200k with international appearances and European competitions, but this still falls some way short of the £300-£500k he is expected to make in his new job.

Would you really not swap your job for the chance to make up to five times more?

The story about Michael Oliver, who will be in charge when Arsenal face Sutton on Monday night, appeared as an exclusive in Saturday’s edition of the Sun. They claim that Oliver is being targeted by the MLS while adding that top referees in the country are becoming ‘increasingly disillusioned with the refs governing body and chief Mike Riley.’

Many younger fans won’t remember Riley as a referee, but if you can imagine Mike Dean at his absolute worst, you won’t even be half-way there.

Amongst other ‘transgressions,’ it was Riley who allowed United to kick Arsenal’s unbeaten record into submission.

This is the man now in charge of all referees in the country.

All makes a little more sense now, eh?

With Howard Webb set to start a new job in the States on 1 March, Oliver is now said to be the MLS’s number one pick when Webb takes up his role as head of referees (PRO – Professional Referee Organisation with jurisdiction over USA and Canada), replacing Peter Walton.

Walton also refereed in the Premier League up until 2012 when he left for the States. No-one noticed. Clattenburg will replace Webb as the director of referees for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

To prepare, PGMOL have promoted David Coote, Chris Kavanagh and Andrew Madley, brother of the hapless Bobby, with immediate effect.

Lee Probert is also expected back after he finally passed his fitness test. Another calamity ref, Probert last took charge of a game in May 2015 and has been suffering with a back injury.

0