Refs union demand compensation and apology for Clattenburg from Chelsea over racism claims… as official returns at Spurs v West Ham
18:04 GMT, 23 November 2012
Referees' union Prospect have demanded that Chelsea pay compensation to Mark Clattenburg for 'damage to his reputation and stress' after the club wrongly accused the 37-year-old official of using racist language towards midfielder John Obi Mikel.
The union insists that they will be
pursuing Chelsea for compensation but not through the courts. Prospect
is also demanding an unreserved apology from the club.
Chelsea had accused Clattenburg of
using 'inappropriate language' – allegedly directing the word 'monkey' – towards Mikel.
The FA has now cleared the referee and
Chelsea accepted the decision. The Metropolitan Police also dropped
their inquiry due to insufficient evidence.
Alan Leighton, the national secretary of Prospect, yesterday called for 'a full and unreserved apology and compensation for loss of earnings, damage to reputation and stress'.
Returning to action: Mark Clattenburg will be the fourth official at Tottenham's clash with West Ham after allegations against him by Chelsea and John Obi Mikel were thrown out
Any legal action would require the support of Clattenburg and Sportsmail understands that the Durham official is not willing to tolerate more time out of the game while legal wrangling ensues.
37-year-old referee returns to action as fourth
official on Sunday for the London derby between West Ham and Tottenham
and he will take centre stage on Wednesday for the Southampton-Norwich
clash at St Marys.
Leighton also called on Chelsea to make a
'sizeable donation' to anti-discrimination bodies Show Racism The Red
Card and Kick It Out.
The union chief insists the case should be pursued on two grounds, both that the
allegation has affected Clattenburg's life and professional standing,
and in order to deter any such claims being made public in the future.
Leighton, today speaking to the Today
programme on BBC Radio 4, said: 'I don't know if we get an
apology from Chelsea. I hope we will. It would be the classy thing to
do, it would be the right thing to do more importantly.
'There needs to be a recognition that
Mark’s reputation has been tarnished, been dragged through the mud, his
integrity has been impugned and it’s unfortunate that the Chelsea
statement makes not a scintilla of recognition of the damage that has
been done to Mark.
'Chelsea didn’t need to do what they
did in the way that they did it. They could have kept the reporting of
the incident confidential and they didn’t need to pursue it once they’d
realised that the only evidence they had was the statement of Ramires
when there was contradictory evidence.'
And Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also offered his support.
The Scot said: 'I didn't believe it anyway. Everyone in the game is pleased for him now, apart from Chelsea.'
On Thursday, the Football Association
concluded their three-week investigation into events during the
explosive clash between Manchester United and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
on October 28 by completely exonerating a match official who, it was
alleged, had called Mikel a ‘monkey’.
Mikel was charged by the FA over the angry confrontation in Clattenburg’s dressing room following the match.
But even after the FA exposed the irrational nature of the accusations, Chelsea officials did not have the decency to say sorry to Clattenburg who spoke of this being the most stressful time of his professional life and feared the case would wreck his career.
Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month
GRAHAM POLL OFFICIAL LINE
I didn’t referee Chelsea for three months after they attempted to discredit me in 2006 – and I can see Mark Clattenburg being kept off their games for a similar period.
Ashley Cole had accused me of having told Chelsea’s players that I wanted to 'teach them a lesson', and Terry said I had said one thing to him on the pitch and changed my story in the dressing room after the game.
It was all simply untrue but I was subject to an FA investigation which lasted three weeks from the match on November 5 at White Hart Lane.
I was finally handed a Chelsea match again in February 2007 against Blackburn. Jose Mourinho had instructed his players not to talk to me – about anything.
I didn’t hear a peep from one of them until during the second half when Didier Drogba sidled up to me, turned his back to the bench and said: 'It'll all be back to normal soon. We know you’re a good ref really.'
Chelsea's players won't have a big problem with Clattenburg. They are professional footballers who just want to get on with playing.
The official won't be comfortable not refereeing the Blues. He already has declared an allegiance to Newcastle, so he is unable to officiate their matches and Sunderland's – due to the north-east rivalry.
If he's kept off Chelsea, does that mean he’ll have to miss Manchester United, City and Arsenal fixtures because he may have an influence on the title race. That thinking does not sit easily with referees.
No ref wants to miss out on big fixtures.
He will also want to prove to Chelsea that their slurs have not affected him – he's a chin-out type of character and referees in the same vein.
Remember when Sir Alex Ferguson hammered Martin Atkinson after the Portsmouth FA Cup tie at Old Trafford Atkinson didn’t referee United again for over a season.
Chris Foy has Chelsea this Sunday for the first time since the race-row match at Loftus Road when he sent off Jose Bosingwa and Drogba – that's well over a year.
Clattenburg didn’t take charge of Everton for over two seasons when he was criticised for failing to send off Dirk Kuyt at Goodison in the Merseyside Derby.
I was kept from Arsenal home matches for more than two seasons. I was happy with that. David Dein suggested it was for the best that I only take Arsenal away. I agreed, something had gone wrong in my mind.
I returned to Arsenal for the visit of Manchester United – then it was all about the fixture, not me, the referee.
I didn’t even warm up on the pitch. Gary Lewin gave me a massage instead. The match was well underway before anyone had realised I was in the middle.
After a visit from a member of the
FA’s governance team in the wake of the association's announcement,
Clattenburg emerged from 26 days of personal turmoil to issue a
‘I am looking
forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the
Premier League and other competitions,’ he said.
messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game
have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.
‘To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was frightening.
‘Racism has no place in football and
this experience should not discourage those to speak out if they
genuinely believe they are a victim of abuse. However, there are
processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be
carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.
‘I know first-hand the ramifications
of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead
of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go
through this in the future.
‘We are fortunate to be working in the
world’s most watched and scrutinised football league. With that comes a
responsibility in regard to how the different parts of the game work
Clattenburg’s statement highlights the fact that Chelsea’s briefing of the media prior to a formal process and investigation offended him deeply.
Prospect had also said in the aftermath: 'There was no doubt he was innocent.There are lessons to
be learned. Mark is very upset his reputation has been dragged through
the mud by this process. There was no need for Chelsea to make the
public aware of the allegation.
‘There is also an issue of flimsiness
about the evidence provided. We need Chelsea to accept the verdict,
apologise to Mark and compensate him for that.’
The FA statement highlighted ‘the essential facts’ that proved there was no substance in Chelsea’s allegations.
It said: ‘The evidence for the
allegation came from one witness, Ramires. Ramires, whose first language
is not English, explained that his instinctive reaction was to seek
confirmation from John Mikel Obi as to what the referee had said.’
’John Mikel Obi, who was being spoken
to by the referee, was much closer to the referee than Ramires and did
not hear what it is suggested was said to him.
’Three other witnesses, i.e. the other
match officials, to whom everything said by referee was relayed via
their communication equipment, are adamant the alleged words were not
uttered. There is nothing in the video footage to support the
’For completeness, but of lesser
weight, two other players, whose first language is English and were in
the vicinity, did not hear anything untoward.’
The FA said they had to re-interview Ramires ‘to show him the previously unseen video footage provided by the club’.
this stage, for the first time, the exact point at which the comment
was alleged to have been made was established,’ the statement continued.
Back to work: Clattenburg has missed four weeks of Premier League fixtures since the controversial game
The complaint collapsed with the emergence of that video. All the witnesses were then interviewed again, with Ramires even unsure as to when the alleged incident occurred.
Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, said: ‘It is PGMOL’s considered view that Mark is completely exonerated of the allegation and he will return to active duty shortly without any stain on his character or reputation.
‘Regrettably, Mark has had to endure four weeks that have brought massive disruption to his professional and personal life through no fault of his own.’