FA to summon Mark Clattenburg next week over 'inappropriate language' claims
Mark Clattenburg is still yet to be invited to speak to Football Association investigators about his role in the events of Chelsea's game against Manchester United nine days ago, part of the thinking behind him being kept off the referees' roster for a second weekend.
The FA investigation this week is expected to go as far as interviewing the Chelsea players who have given statements alleging that Clattenburg made a racist comment to John Obi Mikel in the course of the game. They are yet to set a date to speak to the referee himself and that interview is unlikely to take place before the weekend.
The agreed process undertaken by the FA's governance department is first to read witness statements and then interview those witnesses who have made the allegations. Only then do they formulate a set of questions with which they can put to Clattenburg. The referee himself accepts that his priority is to prepare himself for that meeting with investigators. For that reason, Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) the body that is in charge of all officials in the English game announced yesterday that it was "in Mark's best interests" that the referee was stood down for a second consecutive round of Premier League games.
Mike Riley, the general manager of PGMO, said that his organisation had been "fully prepared" to reinstate Clattenburg this weekend. He said: "However, having discussed this with him, we both consider that it is in Mark's best interests that he has this week away from officiating duties while he prepares to help the FA and police with their enquiries."
Clattenburg is also studying for a law degree which consumes a proportion of his time away from football and he is trying to keep up with his studies while preparing for his case. He will be accompanied to his interview with the FA by a member of his union, Prospect. The FA will decide whether or not to raise charges against him when it has heard all the evidence.
* A man has been arrested over an allegation that a racist gesture was made to a player during last week's Capital One Cup match between Chelsea and Manchester United.
"He was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated Section 4a Public Order Act offence and currently remains in custody at the west London police station. Enquiries continue," a police statement said.
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