referee Bobby Madley has mysteriously quit his job just one game into the new season ‘due to a change in personal circumstances.’
Mr Madley, 32, was one of the best performing referees in the league last season and it was hoped would one day become one of Europe’s top officials.
But Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) on Thursday announced he had left his role.
The circumstances around his departure are shrouded in mystery, but it is thought it could be linked to a video posted on social media.
Madley, who was one of the 18 full-time professional referees, has officiated 91 matches in the Premier League since 2013.
He was not involved during the first weekend of this season.
It is thought Mr Madley missed the mandatory pre-season referees meeting at St George’s Park where they are briefed and prepared.
The PGMOL had 18 referees to cover Premier League matches this season but are now limited to 17.
A PGMOL statement said: ‘Bobby Madley is no longer employed by PGMOL.
‘We understand that he has decided to relocate due to a change in his personal circumstances.’
Madley refereed the 2017 Community Shield at Wembley before overseeing 18 Premier League matches last season.
He did not attend the pre-season referees meeting at St George’s Park before the campaign kicked-off.
Madley was also on FIFA’s list of officials, making him eligible to take charge of international fixtures.
Last season he officiated high profile matches between Manchester United and Chelsea, and Liverpool and Arsenal.