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Clattenburg expects FA to take no action over Mikel allegation as Chelsea are criticised by Society of Black Lawyers


Sam Wallace,Tom Collomosse
Wednesday 14 November 2012 12:30
A police investigation into the referee's alleged comments has now been dropped
A police investigation into the referee's alleged comments has now been dropped

The referee Mark Clattenburg is understood to be confident that he will not face Football Association charges over the allegation of racial abuse against Chelsea's John Obi Mikel.

The FA governance department is expected to make its decision this week on whether or not to charge Clattenburg having interviewed Chelsea players and Mikel over the alleged events of 28 October following the club's defeat in the Premier League to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Clattenburg was interviewed by FA investigators last week accompanied by a representative of his trade union, Prospect, and maintained that he did not make a racial remark to Mikel. He has been left off this weekend's referees' list for the third consecutive week.

Mikel is understood not to have heard the alleged comment, which was relayed to him by team-mate Ramires.

Chelsea and the Football Association have been accused of a “cover-up” by the Society of Black Lawyers because they did not refer alleged remarks by Clattenburg to the police.

The Metropolitan Police has dropped its investigation into a complaint that Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” towards two Chelsea players, a complaint made by the Society of Black Lawyers.

Yesterday, police said the probe would end because “no victims have come forward” and “without a victim and/or any evidence that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be investigated”.

The Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck told the Evening Standard yesterday that the club felt that they had no option but to act on the players' complaint. He said the decision to report Clattenburg "was made after a great deal of anguish and after talking long and hard that evening about what we should do. We were guided by obligations that are imposed by the Football Association and also as an employer."

Any criminal case against Clattenburg would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The FA governance department work according to the civil standard which is on the balance of probability.

Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, believes the FA or Chelsea should have taken it to the police.

“It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up,” he told the BBC. “It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.

“We strongly suspect that the FA and/or Chelsea have failed to provide this information to the Metropolitan Police in order for them to conduct a proper investigation.

“The information we had is that there are 'no victims'. Well, if there are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first place?

“What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing at then? Are they having some cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the police?

“We're going to ask the borough commander (officers in charge of policing each of London’s boroughs) for an explanation. Was there any co-operation? Was any evidence given? If none was given by the FA or Chelsea we want to raise that issue with the Minister of Sport.”

Chelsea were unavailable for comment today, but it is thought they did not give evidence to the police because they felt the FA was the appropriate body to deal with the issue.

Herbert also believes that the police, rather than the football authorities, should take the lead in investigating racial allegations within the game.

“If the Metropolitan Police are not provided with statements what are they supposed to do?" he added.

"If a football club has registered a complaint with the FA, we would expect the FA to refer this matter to the Metropolitan Police.

"The FA does not have the tools to investigate race-hate crime. We think that until the FA gets its house in order complaints like this should be investigated by the police.

"It really does beggar belief that the primary football authorities in the country do not understand the seriousness of hate crime."

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