'No case to answer' for Clattenburg
Soccer:The Football Association will take no action against referee Mark Clattenburg over a complaint by Chelsea that he used a racist remark towards one of their players. The FA have decided there is “no case to answer” over the allegation the he said “shut up you monkey” to midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Indeed, Mikel himself will face charges for an alleged use of threatening and abusive language and/or behaviour in or around the match officials' changing room following the game against Manchester United on October 28th. He has until Friday, November 30th, to respond to the charge but Chelsea have already said the player "does not deny the charge" but "will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances".
On the Clattenburg case, an FA statement said the complaint by Mikel’s team-mate Ramires was “made in good faith”.
The evidence was considered by independent QC David Waters who ruled Ramires’s claim was not supported by any other evidence and disputed by the other match officials.
An FA statement added: “Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg. Having considered Counsel’s opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.”
Clattenburg spoke of his relief and said the last few weeks had been “the most stressful of his life”.
He said: “I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions.
“I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.
“To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening. Racism has no place in football and this experience should not discourage those to speak out if they genuinely believe they are a victim of abuse. However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.
“I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.”
In their own statement, Chelsea accepted the decision and welcomed "the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter".
The club added: "The FA states Chelsea took the correct action following the Manchester United match and encourages all players who believe they have been either subject, or witness, to discriminatory abuse to report the matter immediately to the match officials on the day, and in turn to the FA.
"The club also notes the charge brought against John Mikel Obi. While the player does not deny the charge, he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances.
"With regards to the Mark Clattenburg decision, the club accepts the case is now concluded and notes the FA states the allegation was made in good faith. Chelsea FC cooperated fully with the FA and provided 11 witness statements covering all events during and after the Premier League game on October 28th.
"Chelsea FC has a duty of care, as do all employers, to act responsibly when such allegations are reported by employees. We did not take the decision to lodge a formal complaint with the FA lightly and followed the correct processes and protocols throughout. The club carried out a thorough investigation, led by outside legal counsel, using all information available to us. As the FA makes clear, it is not uncommon for investigations to lead to no disciplinary charge being brought.
"All those directly involved have been subjected to scrutiny over the last weeks. Chelsea FC now hopes that all concerned can continue to carry out their duties without prejudice. We are committed to working alongside all referees and their assistants to ensure games are conducted in the right spirit and that all our players and staff accept and observe the match officials' authority and decisions."