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Racism allegations latest stain on image of so-called 'beautiful game'

I was in the final hour of my shift last Sunday when my producer informed us of a big breaking story at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea's controversial defeat to Manchester United.

Chelsea had accused referee Mark Clattenburg of using inappropriate language towards two of their players.

My shift pattern meant I was at the heart of the story as it gathered pace throughout the week.

Twenty-four hours later, Clattenburg was stood down from refereeing this weekend while the allegations were investigated.

Gordon Taylor urged the FA to act quickly, stating "we've got to learn the lessons of the last 12 months".

The Metropolitan Police announced they were launching a formal investigation into the claims after The Society of Black Lawyers lodged a complaint over comments understood to have been racist.

By Wednesday, Chelsea lodged a formal complaint to the FA following their own internal investigation. We await the conclusion.

It was only three months ago that the success of the Olympics and Paralympics dominated the front and back pages.

People looked to football to follow the lead but recent headlines prove that the 'beautiful game' has a lot to learn.

Irish Independent