independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Clattenburg to sit out weekend games

Mark Clattenburg, pictured, has been accused of using 'inappropriate language' towards John Obi Mikel

Mark Clattenburg will not referee a match for a second weekend running as he prepares to answer accusations from Chelsea.

The Football Association is investigating a complaint from Chelsea that the match official used "inappropriate language" towards John Obi Mikel during the Barclays Premier League match against Manchester United, understood to have been interpreted as being racist.

Clattenburg is due to meet the FA this week and the police, after a complaint was made to police from the Society of Black Lawyers, and has decided not to take charge of a match.

Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, said: "PGMOL was fully prepared to appoint Mark to matches this weekend. 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, 37, who is on FIFA's shortlist to be a match official at the 2014 World Cup, strenuously denies the accusations against him.

The police investigation was launched after Peter Herbert, from the Society of Black Lawyers, made a complaint to the Metropolitan force. He confirmed the complaint was made on the basis of reports rather than first-hand evidence.

Meanwhile, Riley insisted that relations between players and officials have continued to get better.

He added: "PGMOL has one of the world's finest refereeing groups, they are focused on delivering high officiating standards to the Barclays Premier League and the overall morale of the group remains high.

"The relationship between players, managers and match officials has improved both on and off the pitch over the last four seasons and there is every reason to think this will continue."

The issues raised by this case, plus John Terry's four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and the subsequent boycott of a T-shirt campaign by leading players, are likely to be discussed by the anti-discrimination group Kick It Out at a regular board meeting on Wednesday.

Press Association

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