Mark Clattenburg latest: Was John Obi Mikel called a "monkey"?

Did Clattenburg call Chelsea player a ‘monkey’… or in his north-east accent, did he say 'shut up, Mikel' (And how do the FA now prove that)

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 31 October 2012

Back so soon, lads

Chelsea and Manchester United lock horns again tonight in the Capital One League Cup – and you can follow the live action HERE

The future of referee Mark Clattenburg could come down to whether he used the word ‘monkey’ in his exchange with John Obi Mikel.

The Sun has reported that Nigerian Mikel, who did not hear the alleged racist slur, was told by two Chelsea team-mates – Brazilians Ramires and David Luiz – that he was a called ‘a monkey’ in the match against Manchester United on Sunday.

When Ramires told Mikel that he thought he’d been called ‘a monkey’, at least three members of the Chelsea playing and coaching staff asked: ‘Are you certain’.

In the spotlight: John Obi Mikel leaves Chelsea training on Tuesday as the row hangs over the club

In the spotlight: John Obi Mikel leaves Chelsea training on Tuesday as the row hangs over the club

GRAHAM POLL WRITES…

GRAHAM POLL, EX-REFEREE AND DAILY MAIL COLUMNIST.

Lee Mason enjoyed his 41st birthday
on Monday but his thoughts will have been dominated by his appointment
to referee Wednesday's Capital One Cup game between Chelsea and
Manchester United.

Click here to read more…

He was questioned by team-mates and
staff who asked if, with Clattenburg speaking with such a strong North
East accent, the official had said ‘shut up, Mikel’, rather than ‘shut
up, monkey’, which has been alleged.

David Luiz speaks very good English,
Ramires less so. They are both adamant they heard the slur, although
Clattenburg denies the claims and is supported by his two assistants.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed
they had acted on a ‘complaint’ from the Society of Black Lawyers after
the European champions accused Clattenburg of using racist comments. The
allegations are also the subject of a Football Association
investigation.

Clattenburg and his fellow
professionals were said to be shocked and angered by the claims as the
refereeing fraternity rallied around their colleague.

There were also suggestions of
seething resentment in some quarters at the way Chelsea had made their
complaint against Clattenburg public and a desire to see strong action
taken against them if the official was cleared.

That could take weeks or even months
after the police became involved in proceedings less than 24 hours after
the FA’s investigation began.

Chelsea themselves could yet make a
criminal complaint, having appointed an external legal team to conduct
their own probe, something which is expected to conclude on Wednesday.

And the FA may be forced to postpone
their inquiry if the police request they do so, something they came
under heavy fire for during the year-long John Terry scandal.

All smiles: Mikel was back with his team-mates in training amid the race row

All smiles: Mikel was back with his team-mates in training amid the race row

Eyes on the ball: Juan Mata (centre) and John Terry (right) during training on Tuesday morning

Eyes on the ball: Juan Mata (centre) and John Terry (right) during training on Tuesday morning

The police statement read: ‘An
investigation has been launched into alleged comments made during a
football match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC at Stamford
Bridge on 28 October 2012.

‘Officers from Hammersmith & Fulham borough are in liaison with Chelsea Football Club and the Football Association.’

The Metropolitan Police have became
embroiled in their second high-profile football racism case in 12 months
after the man behind the mooted black players’ breakaway union, Peter
Herbert, wrote to them demanding they investigate Clattenburg.

Herbert defended his intervention,
telling Sky Sports News: ‘What we don’t want is for it to be swept away
under the carpet. It must be subject to a full and proper investigation.
It is to lend some seriousness and some weight behind what is happening
in football.’

Herbert admitted his complaint was
based on reports rather than first-hand evidence but added: ‘We weren’t
there but we don’t need to be there in order to report an incident.

‘This appears to have had some
cogency and so it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I think
the Met Police have huge resources, expertise, and I have no doubt that
this matter will be resolved and the truth will come out. If we’ve got
this completely wrong then, of course, the police will tell us.’

But Professional Footballers’
Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said: ‘Involving police or
waiting causes a massive festering of the issue, which has continued to
cause problems and is not good for the image of the game.

Focus: Juan Mata drives into Chelsea's Cobham HQ ahead of Wednesday's clash with United

Focus: Juan Mata drives into Chelsea's Cobham HQ ahead of Wednesday's clash with United

At the wheel: Fernando Torres was also among the players training on Tuesday morning

At the wheel: Fernando Torres was also among the players training on Tuesday morning

‘Football has got to be confident
enough to deal with it. I have said that to the House of Commons, the FA
Council. We need to grasp the nettle and show we are more than capable
of dealing with it.

‘I’m quite concerned that when this happened with the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand incident, the process got elongated.

‘This time, I want football to learn
from it and deal with it as transparently as possible. In football, the
penalties can be severe. In a court of law, the penalty for racial abuse
would be a small amount in comparison to what the FA could fine.’

Taylor welcomed the FA’s refusal to
halt their own investigation, citing the International Cricket Council’s
decision to rule on the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal before it went to
court.

Clattenburg, who vowed on Sunday to
co-operate fully with any investigation, was expected to be spoken to by
both police and the FA, possibly after submitting a written account
about what took place during Sunday’s game.

He has already filed what is known as
an ‘extraordinary incident report’, which is understood mainly to deal
with an alleged confrontation that took place in the referees’ room
after full-time.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo,
assistant manager Eddie Newton and chief executive Ron Gourlay were all
present as Mikel angrily accused Clattenburg of having abused him during
the match itself.

The referee, his assistants and
fourth official are understood to have been stunned by the claims, with
Michael McDonough, Simon Long and Michael Jones – who were miked up to
Clattenburg – denying hearing anything of that nature.

Trouble: John Obi Mikel stormed into Mark Clattenburg's room

Row: Chelsea teammates say John Obi Mikel was told to 'shut up you monkey' by referee Mark Clattenburg – a claim he vehemently denies

Centre of the storm: Referee Mark Clattenburg and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel

Centre of the storm: Mystery surrounds what happened in altercations between Clattenburg, Mikel, and Mata on Sunday

Shocked: Juan Mata is unhappy with Clattenburg's alleged insult

Shocked: Juan Mata is unhappy with Clattenburg's alleged insult – the experienced referee is accused of calling him a 'Spanish t***'

The situation appears to have been
complicated by suggestions Mikel or Mata may not have either, with
reports claiming they were informed of the alleged abuse by team-mates.

Midfielder Oriol Romeu was quoted as having told a Spanish radio station that Mata had confirmed as much.

It is unclear whether Clattenburg
would elect to continue refereeing or take a break from the game while
any investigation was pending but he has accepted being stood down from
officiating in the coming week.

In the spotlight: Mark Clattenburg leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

In the spotlight: Mark Clattenburg leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

Football's chiefs are scared of using microphones on referees, claims Moore

Voice: Rugby ref Wayne Barnes wear the microphone

Voice: Rugby ref Wayne Barnes wear the microphone

Former England rugby union international Brian Moore claims football's authorities are fearful of the bad language that would be exposed by equipping referees with microphones that would relay on-pitch discussions to spectators.

Moore, 50, who played in the 1991 World Cup final, nevertheless believes such a step could help to clean up football's image.

The Ref! Link system has been successfully deployed in rugby, allowing fans an insight to discussions between players and officials during matches.

Moore said: 'Not only do you record these things but you put them on the Ref! Link so that the crowd including the children and the sponsors, most importantly, can hear what they say.'

Moore, a Chelsea supporter, said football's language would be toned down 'within six weeks' of such a scheme.

'But when you speak to people in football, a lot of them say “You can't do that”,' Moore told BBC Radio Five Live. 'But I say, “You can do it, you just won't”. And “can't” and “won't” are very different things.

'There's no technical reason or moral reason, it's just that they're afraid people will actually hear just how bad it is. If you want to change something… then you will do something. The solution is available.'

Moore understands why referees do not typically exercise their right to book players for swearing or other bad language.

'They would never be supported by the Premier League or the FA and they would be the ones who would never ref again,' Moore said. 'While they have the power to deal with it that way, I understand why they don't.'

VIDEO: Clattenburg and Mikel have words on the pitch…

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