SOUTHAMPTON have made an official complaint and are demanding an apology after accusing referee Mark Clattenburg of making an insulting remark to their midfielder Adam Lallana.
The incident is alleged to have happened in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Everton after Southampton had two penalties appeals turned down. Lallana spoke with Clattenburg and believes that he was verbally abused.
A complaint was sent on New Year’s Eve to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited — the body that oversees elite refereeing — and Southampton have asked both for an apology and that Clattenburg does not officiate any of their games until the outcome of the investigation is complete. According to sources, Lallana believes the remark was of a “personal” nature.
Sunday was the first time that Clattenburg had refereed at Goodison Park for six years after previously infuriating Everton with a series of decisions in a Merseyside derby against Liverpool in 2007.
Southampton feel that Clattenburg must have been under particular pressure on his return to Everton. Members of club staff have also alleged that they heard Clattenburg say that he had seen a handball when he was talking in the tunnel after the match.
Mauricio Pochettino, the Southampton manager, was clearly furious and suggested that his team were suffering because of their friendly image. “We don’t want to be judged by our young, handsome, good-looking players,” said Pochettino. “We just want what’s fair. We can be a-------- as well.
“These things need to be said and I am actually defending my club because it is my club and if I don’t talk I am going to be seen as if I am dumb or I don’t care about my club.
“I don’t mean any disrespect against any referees but anyone watching the game can see there were two clear penalties.”
A Football Association investigation concluded there was no case to answer and Clattenburg has since again officiated Chelsea matches. Clattenburg is due to referee the high-profile FA Cup third-round tie at the Emirates between Arsenal and Tottenham.
The PGMOL and Premier League refused to comment last night on Southampton’s complaint.