Chelsea made it clear to the Football Association yesterday they believed they had no option but to file a complaint about the referee Mark Clattenburg and that they did so fully cognisant of the serious nature of the racial element to their case.
The decision to report Clattenburg for two incidents of "inappropriate language" – one of which was allegedly made to John Obi Mikel – was taken with the knowledge of club chairman Bruce Buck and chief executive Ron Gourlay in the aftermath of Sunday's defeat by Manchester United.
Privately the club are aware their complaint has been dismissed by some as retaliation for the FA charges against John Terry earlier this year but they insist their case is justified. The club took statements from players, including Mikel and Juan Mata, above, the two to whom Clattenburg is alleged to have made the remarks.
Overseeing the process for the club is David Barnard, Chelsea's secretary, who was criticised by the independent commission that considered Terry's FA charges, for his part in the adaptation of Ashley Cole's witness statement.
Clattenburg could be refereeing within the next 11 days, even though the referees' organisation – the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) – announced yesterday that he had been taken off the list for this weekend's fixtures. The FA announced that there would be an investigation, although that does not prevent Clattenburg officiating in the meantime. Clattenburg has been in contact with his union, Prospect, to take stock of his legal position.
The FA has received an "extraordinary report" from Clattenburg, which is standard, given that he was confronted with the allegations by Chelsea staff after the game. The FA also spoke to Chelsea yesterday.
The club are sensitive to allegations that they have concocted the charges. In relation to a Tottenham v Chelsea fixture in 2006, the former referee Graham Poll alleged in his newspaper column this month that "Terry, Ashley Cole and other Chelsea players set about trying to tarnish my reputation by inventing stories about what I was supposed to have said to them." Poll claimed those allegations were later dropped.
Ultimately, it will be the FA's governance department that decides whether to press charges.Reuse content