Clattenburg cleared by FA as union calls for Chelsea apology

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mark Clattenburg's union, Prospect, has called upon Chelsea to apologise to the referee and pay him compensation after the Football Association decided that he had no case to answer over allegations of racist abuse.

Clattenburg's representative, Alan Leighton, said that the charge was based on the "flimsiest of evidence" and said the club should never have gone public on the allegations made by the midfielder Ramires that the referee had said "shut up you monkey" to John Obi Mikel.

However, the FA cleared Chelsea of any malicious wrongdoing in bringing the complaint after the game at Stamford Bridge against Manchester United on 28 October, despite saying the testimony of chief witness Ramires had not crossed "the evidential threshold required to bring a charge".

The FA said the allegation was "made in good faith". "In this case, the player and club were correct in reporting the matter to the FA and it was appropriate and proper for such an allegation to be thoroughly investigated.

"It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief."

Leighton said: "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. We are not criticising Chelsea because they investigated the complaint – they had a duty of care. Rather the evidence consisted of just one statement and that is why they shouldn't have gone public."

He called upon Chelsea to make donations to charity as well as pay Clattenburg. However, there was no demand from Clattenburg personally for an apology from Chelsea.

Mikel was charged with misconduct by the FA for his abuse of Clattenburg in the referee's room after the game. Chelsea said yesterday that the player does not deny the charge but will request a personal hearing "to explain the mitigating circumstances".

In light of the episode, the referee's body, PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials) said it would now record all the dialogue transmitted on headsets between referees and their assistants in order to clarify any possible future complaints. The recordings will not be made public.

In the aftermath of the announcement that there would be no charges, Clattenburg said that no referee should be subject in the future to allegations about him being made public before the disciplinary process was complete. He said: "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."

The FA laid out a detailed chronology of its investigation, in which Ramires, Mikel and other players, understood to include Ashley Cole, were interviewed. Ramires was interviewed twice, the second time to view previously unseen footage. His evidence was considered by the FA to be "contradicted by other witnesses" and "not supported by any other evidence".