CHELSEA made the first move towards a reconciliation with referee Mark Clattenburg when the club's chairman, Bruce Buck, paid him a personal visit yesterday.
Buck travelled to St George's Park in east Staffordshire where the 16-strong group of select referees were having their regular meeting in an attempt to explain why Chelsea pushed ahead with their allegation of racism by Clattenburg towards midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Since last week’s decision by the Football Association that Chelsea's evidence that Clattenburg called Mikel “a monkey” during the game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on 28 October was not strong enough to warrant a charge, talks have been ongoing between the club and Mike Riley, general manager of the referee's association.
While Chelsea's decision to push ahead with the complaint was judged to be justified by the FA, despite the evidence of midfielder Ramires being judged to be insufficient, the club have been looking at ways of building bridges with the refereeing community.
There are elements among the referees in the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMO) who are understood to be very unhappy about the manner in which Chelsea approached the issue and determined that some such acknowledgment be made by the club.
The discussion with Buck is also believed to have touched on the possibility of Clattenburg taking charge of Chelsea games in the future.