“Maverick” Mark Clattenburg’s handling of Tottenham’s game at Chelsea in May 2016 was “a gamble too far”, says ex-top-flight official Dermot Gallagher.

Ex-referee Clattenburg said he could have sent off three players but let Spurs “self-destruct” so he could not be blamed for them losing the title.

“We are duty bound to treat every player in every game firmly, fairly and consistently,” said Gallagher.

“He [Clattenburg] certainly didn’t. It was all about him, wasn’t it?”

Spurs needed to beat Chelsea to retain any hope of winning the league.

Clattenburg – who is now head of referees in Saudi Arabia – booked nine Spurs players in the bad-tempered 2-2 draw and the two clubs later received record fines from the Football Association.

Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele was also banned for six games for violent conduct against Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

“The only thing you would say about what he did on the night is that he was consistent throughout,” Gallagher told BBC Radio 5 live.

“If he was a young referee making his way through and you saw a performance like that then an assessor would tear him to bits.

“Let’s not forget one thing, he was a fantastic referee. He was an individual, there’s no doubt about that. He had a maverick side to him.

“He was a fantastic referee and maybe he thought because he was respected so much by the players he could take those gambles. On this occasion it was a gamble too far.”

Speaking at his news conference before Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with APOEL, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino did not want to discuss the matter, saying: “Two years ago. I am not going to say anything.”

‘What a load of rubbish’

Clattenburg took charge of the Euro 2016 final, as well as that year’s Champions League and FA Cup finals, before quitting as a Premier League official the following season to move to Saudi Arabia.

“When you listen to him and that he went in with a gameplan because he didn’t want the headline of ‘Clattenburg costs Spurs the title’, there’s something wrong about that,” added former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

“I can’t see how a referee can go into a game thinking about anything other than officiating it in isolation. If people have to be sent off they have to be sent off. It’s baffling for me.”

The draw against Chelsea meant Tottenham missed out on the title to Leicester.

“What a load of rubbish,” added former Leicester striker Steve Claridge. “Say he doesn’t send those Tottenham players off, they beat Chelsea and they win the league. How does his masterplan work then?”

Clattenburg is no longer part of the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) select group, which provides all the referees for top flight matches, and it will not be commenting on his remarks.