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By ESPN Staff

''Innocent'' ref Clattenburg hopeful over return

Referee Mark Clattenburg is hopeful of a return to football in the near future after responding to allegations relating to debts of companies connected to him.

Clattenburg was dramatically dropped from refereeing last month's Community Shield clash at Wembley just hours after the Football Association and the PGMOL, the referees' professional body, were alerted to the claims.

The 33-year-old has been suspended ever since but when asked if he was convinced he would be vindicated and allowed to resume his refereeing career, Clattenburg was optimistic.

He told The Daily Mail: ''I would hope so. You don't know, do you? You can't guarantee anything.

''I can't guarantee what's going to happen tomorrow, I can't guarantee what's going to happen the next day. At the end of the day, the truth will come out.

''Why wouldn't I (be reinstated)? I'm innocent. When I come back to refereeing, I'll just smile.''

Clattenburg's firm, MC Electrical Retail NE Ltd, was wound up under the Insolvency Act on June 27, Newcastle County Court confirmed last month.

Friend John Hepworth had served the company with legal papers demanding £59,589.

When it failed to pay, he took the case to the county court and MC Electrical Retail NE Ltd was wound up.

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