No Chelsea apology for Clattenburg


Chelsea will resist demands from the referees’ union for an unreserved apology and financial compensation for Mark Clattenburg after he was cleared of directing a racist comment at Mikel John Obi.

The Premier League referee spoke of his huge relief after the English Football Association found he had no case to answer, describing the “frightening” allegations as the most stressful experience of his life.

But Chelsea will resist calls for a direct apology, believing they acted in good faith at all times and had a duty to support Ramires.

The Brazilian claimed he heard the referee say “shut up you monkey” to Mikel in the wake of the sending off of Fernando Torres during Chelsea’s home defeat to Manchester United on October 28th.

“We are seeking a full and unreserved apology and compensation for loss of earnings, damage to reputation and stress. We are also asking for a sizeable donation to Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out,” said Alan Leighton of Prospect, the referees’ union.

“The charge was based on the flimsiest evidence that should never have got to this stage. It should never have been made public and should have been dealt with confidentially.”

In an effort to avoid ambiguity in future, all conversations between referees and with players will now be recorded. The new equipment will be brought in “as soon as possible” and should be in use within a fortnight, according to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ body.

Asked whether the club should apologise, Riley said: “I hope Chelsea will do the right thing.”

An hour before Chelsea prepared to unveil Rafael Benitez as their new interim manager following a tumultuous week, the club was informed by the FA that Clattenburg did not have a case to answer.

Coming in the wake of the John Terry case that hung over Chelsea for 12 months and prompted criticism when he remained as club captain despite being found guilty of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand, the case added to the already febrile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge even before this week’s sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.

Chelsea immediately came under fire for not apologising directly to Clattenburg, who had been accused of using “inappropriate language”.

Ramires continues to insist he heard the offending term. While accepting the verdict, the club said they were right to back their player and said they hoped “all concerned can continue to carry out their duties without prejudice”.

Mikel was charged by the FA with using threatening or abusive words and/or behaviour “in or around the Match Officials’ changing room” following the 3-2 home defeat to United, during which Torres and Branislav Ivanovic were sent off. He has until Friday, November 30th to respond.

Clattenburg, who has been omitted from the refereeing list for four weeks, paid tribute to the support of his colleagues and said he “couldn’t wait” to get back to officiating.

The FA’s investigators found neither Clattenburg nor the three other match officials – who could hear everything being said in their earpieces - heard the comment. Nor did Mikel, who was much closer to the referee than Ramires.

Nor was there anything in the video evidence to support the allegation and nor did two other players near the incident hear anything untoward.Guardian Service

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