The Sports Matrix: Friday 23 November 2012


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The Independent Online

Clattenburg cleared by FA and asks for apology

Mark Clattenburg's union Prospect called upon Chelsea to apologise to the referee, below, 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 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. But 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".

In a judgement that will have come as some relief to the club, the FA said the allegation was "made in good faith".

The FA said: "It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief." MORE

Benitez yet to meet boss Abramovich

Rafael Benitez revealed that he had not met Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, before his unveiling as manager last night. Benitez said he had not even spoken to Abramovich, but said it would be "easier" at Chelsea than working for two owners at Liverpool. MORE

Liverpool draw with Young Boys

Liverpool were held to a 2-2 home draw with Young Boys in Group A. Jonjo Shelvey's opener for the hosts was levelled by Raul Bobadilla, before Joe Cole made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute. But the visitors equalised again, Elsad Zverotic scoring with just two minutes remaining. MORE

Newcastle ease through after draw

Newcastle progressed to the next stage after drawing 1-1 with Maritimo at St James' Park in Group D. Sylvain Marveaux's 23rd minute effort opened the scoring for Newcastle, before Maritimo levelled with eleven minutes remaining, Fidelis striking low from close range. MORE

Lloris helps Spurs gain draw at Lazio

A resolute display from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris helped Tottenham to a 0-0 draw at Lazio in Group J. Gareth Bale had an early effort disallowed but the home side dominated, leaving Andre Villas-Boas's side needing to avoid defeat in their final game to reach the last 32. MORE

Stabbed Spurs fan is 'out of danger'

Spurs fan Ashley Mills had an emergency operation yesterday after he was stabbed during an attack by a gang of Lazio fans in Rome on Wednesday night. Hospital staff said he was now out of danger but his friends said they had feared the worst. MORE

Fifa denies Drogba his Chelsea move

Didier Drogba's hopes of an emotional return to Chelsea were blocked by Fifa yesterday. International football's governing body maintained the stance on its rule that no player can move outside of the transfer window. MORE

Man City reluctant to make signings

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will not be given money in January to bolster his squad. Only an injury emergency will trigger new signings. After their investment, the Abu Dhabi owners have moved to a second "commercial" period. MORE

North ruled out of New Zealand game

Winger George North is out of Wales' match with New Zealand tomorrow due to a hip injury. New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter, meanwhile, is a doubt for the game at the Millennium Stadium, pulling up with a leg problem in training yesterday.

Lancaster makes six team changes

England coach Stuart Lancaster hopes making six changes for tomorrow's Test with South Africa will pay off. He said: "You either win in the key areas when you're playing South Africa or you're in for a hard afternoon." MORE

Column: Ian Bell

I have been trying a bit too hard to show I can score big in India. I still have a lot of confidence about playing in the subcontinent but not India and I know that is missing from my batting CV. MORE