Chelsea won't issue apology to ref Clattenburg after race claim
11:34 GMT, 28 November 2012
Chelsea continue to maintain they will not issue an apology to referee Mark Clattenburg despite admitting to their 'regret' over the handling of the affair.
The lack of apology is based on Chelsea's opinion that in doing so they would undermine Ramires when it is widely accepted that the midfielder was sincere in his belief that Clattenburg had called John Obi Mikel a monkey during the explosive encounter at with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Dragged through the mud: Chelsea say they regret the way they acted over the Mark Clattenburg debacle
In a joint statement from Chelsea, the Premier League and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the European champions conceded that their actions caused Clattenburg and his family huge distress.
They also admitted it had been a mistake to rush out a press release on the night of their defeat by Manchester United when the accusation that Clattenburg had called John Mikel Obi a 'monkey' was so serious.
But Chelsea consider the joint statement, drafted after the personal intervention of their chairman Bruce Buck, to be full and final and do not intend to issue any further comment.
Referees' union Prospect have dropped their demand for Chelsea to pay compensation to Clattenburg after reaching agreement over the statement but still feel an apology should still be forthcoming.
On the way back: Terry is poised for a first-team return after injury
Clattenburg has not refereed a game since the furore exploded last month but is due to return to action tonight when Southampton entertain Norwich in the Barclays Premier League.
Meanwhile, Chelsea, who take on Fulham at Stamford Bridge, do not expect to have skipper John Terry back in time for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off away to West Ham.
Terry is back in training after making remarkable progress from the knee injury sustained in the draw with Liverpool two weeks ago.
Fears he could be out for the season have proved to be unfounded but Terry is rated as highly doubtful for this weekend's trip to Upton Park and is also unlikely to play in Chelsea's must-win Champions League Group E clash at home to Nordsjaelland next Wednesday.