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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot