Police DROP probe into Chelsea's racist abuse claims against ref Clattenburg in spat over Mikel due to lack of evidence
20:00 GMT, 13 November 2012
The Metropolitan Police have dropped their investigation into the alleged racist abuse of John Obi Mikel by referee Mark Clattenburg.
The Durham official has not taken charge of a match since Chelsea accused him of directing racist language towards Mikel at Stamford Bridge on October 28.
The Met had launched an investigation following a complaint lodged by the Society for Black Lawyers, based on reports of the incident rather than any evidence.
Flashpoint: John Obi Mikel (right) and Ramires made allegations about referee Mark Clattenburg (centre)
GOURLAY: 'RACE ROWS HAVE BEEN BULLET PRINTS IN OUR ARMOUR'
Chelsea’s chief executive Ron Gourlay (right) has described the race rows that have blighted the club over the last 12 months as ‘bullet prints in our armour’ and charged the younger players at Stamford Bridge to repair Chelsea’s damaged image.
The Champions League winners have struggled to win friends during public disputes fueled by racism allegations, while talismanic captain John Terry and big-spending owner Roman Abramovich have long been polarizing personalities in English football.
‘There are things that have happened that damaged the image,’ Gourlay said, acknowledging that Chelsea has been under fire since Terry’s court case and, more recently, reporting referee Mark Clattenburg for alleged racist abuse. ‘There are bullet prints in our armor. We have learned from the mistakes we have made. Hopefully the football club is in a good position to push forward now.’
He believes the widely admired talent of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar is shifting people’s perception.
‘That’s where we want to be,’ Gourlay added. ‘I think people like the way they are seeing Chelsea play football now, and that’s very important because it portrays itself as the image of the club.
‘We are in a very, very strong place,’ the chief executive said on the sidelines of the Chelsea-backed International Football Arena conference in Zurich.
Chelsea last week submitted a dossier
of evidence to the FA, including signed witness statements from players,
alleging Clattenburg used a term understood to have been interpreted as
racist during the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United.
Clattenburg denies the accusation.
Met Police statement read: 'An investigation was launched into alleged
comments made during a football match between Chelsea FC and Manchester
United FC at Stamford Bridge on 28 October 2012.
'This follows on from a complaint received by the Metropolitan Police Service on 29 October.
'Enquires 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.
the situation changes and a victim and/or evidence to support an
allegation of a crime comes to police attention then further enquiries
will if appropriate be made.
The 37-year-old referee returned to training with the top-flight Select Group of referees last weekend for the first time since Chelsea's complaint.
Chelsea have alleged that Clattenburg used a term understood to have been interpreted as racist towards midfielder during the Premier League match.
He is accused by Chelsea of calling Mikel a ‘monkey’, which the official strenuously denies.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires claims he heard the alleged ‘monkey’ abuse, which led to the club’s claims two hours after their defeat by United.
In the spotlight: Clattenburg, pictured leaving his home near Newcastle, has not taken charge of a match since the incident
Clattenburg and referees chief Mike
Riley decided jointly that he should not be in charge of matches while
the case has been going on.
The FA is yet to make a decision on the matter after conducting its own investigation.
Dispute: Mikel complains to Clattenburg as his side slumped to defeat against Manchester United
Marching orders: Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players in the match, which included a highly controversial decision to show Fernando Torres a second yellow card for diving
Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) as Clattenburg struggled to the control the game
Clattenburg timeline: How football has reacted to the claims of racist abuse
Oct 28: Mark Clattenburg sends off Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, the latter for a disputed dive, as Chelsea go down 3-2 against Manchester United.
Chelsea later confirm they had lodged a formal complaint with the Premier League match delegate regarding 'inappropriate language' made by Clattenburg to two of their players. The complaint is understood to relate to alleged racial comments in incidents involving John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.
Oct 29: Clattenburg is offered the full support of Prospect, the referees' union.
The Football Association starts an investigation relating to Chelsea's allegations. PFA chief Gordon
Taylor urges the FA to deal with the matter quickly.
The Professional Game Match Officials confirms Clattenburg will not be involved in the next round of matches, stating 'the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself'.
The Society of Black Lawyers sends a letter to the Metropolitan Police calling for a legal investigation. The Met confirm they have received a complaint and will 'consider any allegation that is made'.
Oct 30: The Metropolitan Police launch an investigation into the incidents at Stamford Bridge.
Oct 31: Chelsea lodge a formal complaint with the Football Association regarding 'inappropriate language' directed at Mikel by Clattenburg during Sunday's match.
Nov 2: Sir Alex Ferguson enters the debate, saying: 'I refuse to believe' Clattenburg would make racially abusive comments.
Nov 5: The referees group PGMOL says Clattenburg will not referee at the weekend, but that they had been willing to appoint him to a match if he had wanted.
Nov 8: The Football Association carried out a series of interviews with match officials as they continued their investigations.
Nov 12: Clattenburg was absent from the PGMOL list for a third successive week, although he did return to training.
Nov 13: The police investigation into alleged comments made by Clattenburg was dropped due to a lack of evidence, Scotland Yard said.