Chelsea stand by Clattenburg claims as FA starts investigation

Premier League leaders insist complaint about referee is serious and not retaliation for Terry race row case

Chelsea made it clear to the Football Association today 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 made to John Obi Mikel - was taken at the highest executive level by the club, with the knowledge of chairman, Bruce Buck, and chief executive, Ron Gourlay, in the aftermath of Sunday's defeat to Manchester United.

In private, the club are aware that their complaint has been dismissed in some quarters as retaliation for the FA charges laid against John Terry earlier this year but they are adamant that their case is justified. The club took statements from the players involved, including Mikel and Juan Mata, the two to whom Clattenburg is alleged to have made the remarks.

Overseeing the process for the club is David Barnard, the club secretary, who was heavily criticised by the independent commission which considered Terry's FA charges, for his part in the adaptation of Ashley Cole's witness statement. Chelsea have defended Barnard and regard him as the obvious candidate to supervise the process.

Clattenburg himself could be refereeing fixtures within the next 11 days, even though the referees' organisation - the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) - announced that he had been taken off the list for this weekend's fixtures. One source said that Clattenburg "was not in the right frame of mind" to go straight back into refereeing.

The FA announced that there would be an investigation into the issue, although - as with a player - that does not prevent Clattenburg from taking charge of games in the meantime. He was at St George's Park yesterday for a meeting of the select group of referees, all of whom have been told by the PGMO general manager, Mike Riley, that they are not to discuss the case.

It is understood that Clattenburg, who is a Fifa list referee, was not scheduled to take charge of a Champions League or Europa League match next week. PGMO will consider his suitability or otherwise to referee on a week-by-week basis. The remaining three from Sunday's officials' team at Stamford Bridge - assistants Mike McDonough and Simon Long, and fourth official Mike Jones - have been allocated games this weekend.

Clattenburg has been in contact with his union, Prospect, which represents all match officials, to take stock of his legal position. Prospect issued a statement today in support of its member, who has told colleagues that he has been subject to unprecedented media scrutiny over the last 48 hours, including being followed on the motorway, having been collected from his home in Newcastle today by fellow referee Michael Oliver.

The FA has received an "extraordinary report" from Clattenburg, which is standard, given that he was confronted with the allegations by Chelsea staff, believed to have included the manager, Roberto Di Matteo, after the game. The FA will also receive Clattenburg's match report and, on this occasion, the governing body will have been contacted by match delegate Nick Cusack. The FA also spoke to Chelsea today.

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 "[John] 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 on the field that day."

Poll claimed those allegations were later dropped. Chelsea have no intention of dropping their current complaint. Ultimately, it will be the FA's governance department which decides whether to press charges. The incidents took place on the pitch when Clattenburg's conversations would have been audible to his assistants.

PGMO described Clattenburg as one of the "elite referees in world football" but said his presence at games this weekend would generate an "intense level of scrutiny [that] would detract from the match and be unfair to the clubs and supporters of both sides".

The Metropolitan Police were last night considering a complaint received from lawyer Peter Herbert regarding the alleged incident. They have not yet opened an investigation.

Gerrard adds to officials' woe

The Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has criticised one of the officials who took charge of the derby draw against Everton on Sunday, claiming assistant referee Simon Bennett admitted he was not completely certain about the offside call that annulled Luis Suarez's last-gasp winner in added time.

Gerrard said: "I asked him after the match if it was offside and he said, 'I think so.' That's not good enough. If every decision in this league is based on 'we think so' then we're in trouble."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on