Chelsea race case against Clattenburg in jeopardy with Mikel facing disrepute charge
00:50 GMT, 31 October 2012
Chelsea's race case against Mark
Clattenburg is in danger of collapsing after it emerged that the club
have employed independent lawyers to investigate the claims of their
The club are expected to conclude
their internal investigation into allegations that the referee racially
abused John Mikel Obi and called Juan Mata a ‘Spanish t***’.
The external lawyers will then
provide Chelsea with legal opinion as to whether their case will be
successful. Despite issues over the available evidence, Chelsea remained
In the spotlight: John Obi Mikel leaves Chelsea training on Tuesday as the row hangs over the club
Clattenburg, who has been taken off
the Premier League match list this weekend, has protested his innocence
since his controversial handling of Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat by Manchester
United on Sunday.
Rio tweets with interest..
United defender Rio Ferdinand (right), who has been outspoken on racism in
football, tweeted on Tuesday morning: 'Will be interesting to see how
this alleged 'race' or 'insulting' language episode pans out, our game
is under the microscope like never before.'Mikel was among the Chelsea players back
at training on Tuesday morning ahead of the rematch with United in the
Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
Now it has emerged that Chelsea are
fearful of the backlash if the players have misheard or misjudged
Clattenburg’s conversations during the stormy clash against United.
Chelsea will proceed with the case
against the referee only if they are satisfied the claims made by the
players after the game will stand up to the FA’s burden of proof.
It means they will
need to satisfy an FA commission ‘on the balance of probability’, but
they also have to negotiate the complexities of the Metropolitan
Police’s investigation into the affair.
If the case breaks down, it will
reflect badly on Chelsea, who made their claims of inappropriate
language against Clattenburg in a strongly worded statement on Sunday,
two hours after the final whistle.
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
GRAHAM POLL WRITES…
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…
Earlier it emerged that the club and
Mikel could be charged with misconduct by the FA after the midfielder
had to be restrained from manhandling the referee in his dressing room
following the clash.
Clattenburg did not mention the
behaviour in the ‘extraordinary incident’ report he filed on Sunday, but
he now has to make a detailed statement to the FA. Clattenburg’s
assistants, Michael McDonough and Simon Long, and fourth official Mike
Jones have filed reports in which they say they did not hear the Durham
official say anything inappropriate.
All four were in the referee’s room when Mikel burst in with Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay and manager Roberto Di Matteo.
Mikel’s aggressive manner, along with
the behaviour of other Chelsea officials, raises the possibility of FA
action against the club.
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
Both Mikel and Mata claim they have a
witness to Clattenburg’s comments, and PFA chief executive Gordon
Taylor, who has assessed both complaints, told Sportsmail the
pair have his ‘100 per cent support’.
However, it has emerged that the
allegations about the referee’s comments were made only after a debate
in the Chelsea dressing room. Mikel and Ramires were discussing the
alleged use of racist language and were then quizzed by senior Chelsea
players about what they had heard before the matter was taken further.
Sunday’s controversy is also the
subject of a police investigation and Clattenburg will be interviewed by
them as well as the FA, who are conducting a separate inquiry into his
handling of the clash.
The PFA had a delegate at the game
and he has discussed the matter with Taylor, who said: ‘The main thing
is that the police investigation will not affect the process at the FA.
‘We are supportive of the players and
they have our 100 per cent backing. I find it difficult to believe that
Chelsea’s players would make something like this up. At the same time I
find it hard to conclude that a referee could say something of this
Clattenburg found an unlikely ally in
Leeds manager Neil Warnock, who said he was disgusted with Chelsea for
‘trying to kill’ the official.
Warnock, preparing for Leeds’ Capital
One Cup win over Southampton last night, was critical of the
accusations against Clattenburg, who enraged Chelsea by sending off
Fernando Torres for diving when replays showed he had been fouled.
Trouble: John Obi Mikel stormed into Mark Clattenburg's room
Centre of the storm: Referee Mark Clattenburg and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel
Shocked: Juan Mata is unhappy with Clattenburg's alleged insult
Warnock said: ‘You know my
relationship with referees but I have to say I am disgusted with what’s
gone on. I’m on Clattenburg’s side. We ask referees to man-manage and
that’s what he does. I’m sure he might have said a few things but are
you telling me if Chelsea had won that game that there would have been
one iota of a complaint
‘I hope if it is proved wrong, that
the players, whatever they alleged Mark to have said, get done as well. I
think he made a mistake but they are trying to kill him and I don’t
agree with that.’
In a further development, police
chiefs upgraded security at Stamford Bridge for the Capital One Cup tie
against United as tension between the teams threatens to escalate.
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
VIDEO: Clattenburg and Mikel have words on the pitch…