Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has spoken for the first time about one of the most explosive events in the club’s history.
Mark Clattenburg will miss a third weekend of Barclays Premier League matches as the Football Association continue their investigation into Chelsea's complaint of inappropriate language against the referee.
Speaking exclusively to The Evening Standard, Buck expressed his surprise and bafflement that the Chelsea are in the dock for accusing the official after the Premier League game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
“The reaction has been very unfair,” he says. “We weren’t interested in any confrontation with the referee or anybody else, had no thoughts of revenge on the referee. He made two obvious mistakes [sending Fernando Torres off and allowing Javier Hernandez’s offside winner] which changed the tide.
“I felt we had the moral high ground, so I didn’t really feel that bad about the defeat or have that feeling in my stomach. I thought we’d be treated very kindly in the newspapers next day.”
“It [the decision] was made after a great deal of anguish and after talking long and hard that evening about what should we do.”
Buck also says the European champions had no choice or be accused of a cover-up once the two players, Mikel and Ramires, alleged that Clattenburg used the term monkey.
“We were guided by obligations that are imposed by the Football Association and also as an employer. FA rule E14 basically says a participant shall immediately report to the association any incident or matter which may be considered to be a misconduct.
“Misconduct is a defined term under the FA regulations and includes such racial behaviour. We also had to consider the Equality Act 2010, which imposes an obligation on an employer to take certain actions if an employee is subject to discrimination by third parties.
“Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, ‘Look, it’s not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider.” If that had leaked out, we would’ve really been crucified.”
Clattenburg has not spoken publicly about the controversy but it is known he denies Chelsea’s allegation.
Buck believes Chelsea’s present image problem is due to the fact the media have conflated the Mikel case with the John Terry affair, the defender having retained the captaincy despite being given a four-game ban by the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
“The press seem to juxtapose ‘our support’ of John Terry and what’s going on here and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical. We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this. From our perspective, the latest situation was pretty straightforward. We have an obligation to report what may be misconduct. We did that, in good faith and not maliciously.
"Chelsea are not run by John Terry. I don’t know how I can prove it to you but it’s not true. My club are run by Roman Abramovich,” he added.
See the full article at The Evening Standard