Sunday 26 May 2019

FA to review referee report following ‘handbags’ at Stamford Bridge

Representatives of Chelsea and Burnley clashed in the tunnel following a 2-2 draw.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton speaks to referee Kevin Friend after being booked at Stamford Bridge (Adam Davy/PA)
Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton speaks to referee Kevin Friend after being booked at Stamford Bridge (Adam Davy/PA)

By Nick Purewal, Press Association Sport

The Football Association will review Kevin Friend’s match report before deciding whether to investigate claims Maurizio Sarri was repeatedly racially abused by members of Burnley’s backroom staff.

Referee Friend is understood to have received a complaint over language directed at head coach Sarri by Burnley staff during Monday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

The alleged abuse aimed at Sarri was included in Friend’s report on a fractious encounter where Chelsea’s head coach was sent off, then refused to speak to the media.

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is sent from the touchline at Stamford Bridge (Adam Davy/PA)

David Luiz squared up to Ashley Westwood during a tunnel melee at full-time, while Antonio Rudiger clashed with Burnley goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer – he was later understood to have been thanked by Clarets staff for helping defuse the tension.

Brazil defender Luiz, meanwhile, has expressed frustration over his failed attempts to make referee Friend aware of Burnley’s perceived time-wasting antics.

Luiz branded the delaying tactics “anti-football”, while Friend did book Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton for time wasting in just the 32nd minute.

“It is difficult when you see a referee even laugh in your face when you try to speak with him in a respectful way, it is not nice,” Luiz told Chelsea’s official club website.

When I was trying to speak with him he was never looking in my eyes and he was not trying to listen, he just said, 'I don't want to listen to you, shut up and play the game'. Luiz on referee Friend

“When I was trying to speak with him he was never looking in my eyes and he was not trying to listen, he just said, ‘I don’t want to listen to you, shut up and play the game’.”

Chelsea lost ground in the race for a top-four finish by slipping to a frustrating draw, while Burnley reached the 40-point milestone that should see them avoid relegation.

N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain blasted two quick-fire goals but Chelsea leaked two themselves, and both from set-pieces.

Jeff Hendrick and Ashley Barnes scored for the visitors to thwart Sarri’s men, but the unsavoury scenes at the death dominated the aftermath.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche played down the fractious exchanges between the two benches as “handbags”.

Dyche explained he had spoken to Gianfranco Zola at half-time to ask Sarri not to encroach into the Clarets’ technical area.

“I know Zola a bit, he’s a fantastic fella, and I’ve always got on with him,” Dyche said of Chelsea’s assistant manager.

“He said at half-time he (Sarri) is not quite getting it. I said he was going over into my box.

“He just said he didn’t quite get the reality of it, the technical areas are bigger in Italy.

“I said fine, and accepted it.”

Press Association

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