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."

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all