referee Mark Clattenburg is understood to be confident that he will not face Football Association charges over an allegation of racial abuse against Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, after police in London announced they were dropping their investigation into the incident.
The FA 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 October 28 following the club's defeat in the Premier League to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Clattenburg was interviewed by FA investigators last week, and denied the allegations. He has been left off this weekend's referees' list for the third consecutive week but is hopeful that the entire case will have been dropped by the time the next list is announced on Monday.
Mikel is understood not to have heard the alleged comment, which was relayed to him by team-mate Ramires.
A police statement said: "Inquiries were made and no victims have come forward. The matter will remain as a recorded incident. Without a victim and/or any evidence that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be investigated.
"If the situation changes and a victim and/or evidence to support an allegation of a crime comes to police attention, then further inquiries will, if appropriate, be made."
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.
Meanwhile, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has hit back at criticism of the club and insisted they are not hypocrites for supporting skipper John Terry and at the same time lodging a complaint against Clattenburg.
Buck says Chelsea have a "duty of care" for Terry even if he has done something wrong – he was banned for four matches for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.
Buck said: "Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, 'Look, it's not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider'. If that had leaked out, we would've really been crucified." (© Independent News Service)