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Mark Clattenburg race row: Did referee use the word "monkey" at John Obi Mikel? Truth

Is the referee a racist Who is telling the truth Did Clattenburg really use the word 'monkey' at Chelsea's Mikel The answers the FA and the police must uncover as they begin probe

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UPDATED:

08:20 GMT, 1 November 2012

The events that unfolded at Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening have created an unprecedented fissure in the English game, with a football club and match officials at loggerheads over alleged racist language.

The claim that Mark Clattenburg called John Mikel Obi a 'monkey' has shocked a sport that has been scarred by racist disputes for over a year.

NEIL ASHTON looks behind the allegations and conjecture to establish if there is any concrete evidence for Chelsea’s claim against the referee.

Mark Clattenburg race row

THE OTHERS IN THE LOOP

ALL four officials are able to hear each other speak thanks to a Swiss earpiece system. The sound is of digital quality and background noise is cut out.
Earpieces for the four of them cost 2,900.

SIMON LONG - Assistant referee

SIMON LONG – Assistant referee

MICHAEL McDONOUGH - Assistant referee

MICHAEL McDONOUGH – Assistant referee

MIKE JONES - Fourth official

MIKE JONES – Fourth official

WERE CLATTENBURG’S WORDS CAUGHT ON CAMERA

Up to 20 cameras are used for a live broadcast, but not all of them are ‘on record’. Sky’s match director chooses the best shot, as witnessed by the razor-sharp cut to Mikel being booked in the 76th minute.

However, the footage of the incident broadcast on Sky shows the back of the referee as he raises a yellow card. Mikel is obviously unhappy, but his reaction appears to be that of a man who has been booked rather than that of the victim of a racial slur. Other camera angles may help with the dialogue but may not be conclusive.

Earlier in the match, with the score 2-2, tempers were running high when Clattenburg dismissed Branislav Ivanovic in the 62nd minute for, in referee’s parlance, ‘DOGSO’ (denial of goalscoring opportunity).

As United players prepared to take the free-kick, Clattenburg was in a dialogue with Chelsea winger Juan Mata. It has been suggested that, at some point in the game, the referee called Mata a Spanish t***.

Sportsmail asked a lip-reading expert to analyse this clip. The expert’s conclusion is that Clattenburg appears to tell Mata: ‘I know it’s b******s… but that’s not my fault’.

Mata appears to accept this, but Torres is listening more intently and looks on open-mouthed. Chelsea have accepted there was not enough evidence to take the Mata complaint further.

Row: Chelsea have lodged an official complaint with the FA over the way in which Mark Clattenburg spoke to John Obi Mikel

Row: Chelsea have lodged an official complaint with the FA over the way in which Mark Clattenburg (right) spoke to John Obi Mikel (left)

WHAT KIND OF REFEREE IS CLATTENBURG

As a Newcastle fan, he is not allowed to officiate their matches because of his allegiance and cannot referee Sunderland matches because of the rivalry.

Sunday was Chelsea’s Kick It Out day — and both teams, plus the officials, wore ‘One Game One Community’ shirts to promote the initiative. Clattenburg wore the campaign T-shirt throughout his 30-minute pre-match routine.

He enjoys the celebrity that comes with officiating a high-profile sport. He adopts a matey attitude with players during matches, but some would prefer an official to act with more detachment.

Clattenburg is regarded by the PGMO as one of their top referees and is being considered by FIFA as the English representative at the 2014 World Cup.

Back in action: John Obi Mikel at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night

Back in action: John Obi Mikel at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HOURS AFTER THE GAME

Feelings intensified in the Chelsea dressing room. When Brazilian Ramires told Mikel he thought he’d been called ‘a monkey’, at least three members of the playing and coaching staff asked: ‘Are you certain’ Ramires was asked if, with Clattenburg having such a strong North East accent, the official had said: ‘shut up Mikel’, rather than ‘shut up monkey’, which has been alleged.

There is a popular assumption that Terry, serving the second game of a four-match FA ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, encouraged Chelsea to make a complaint. But according to dressing-room sources, Terry has given the dispute a wide berth.

Chelsea officials then joined in an increasingly heated conversation that travelled the short distance from the team changing area to the referee’s room.

Clattenburg and his officials prepared for the match in a room the size of a rabbit-hutch. It is the first door on the left when the officials walk down the tunnel from the pitch and is separated from the home dressing room by a mascot’s changing area.

In the normal course of events, a people-carrier would be available to take the referee to the Crowne Plaza on King’s Road, half an hour after the game. On this occasion, the vehicle would have to wait.

Clattenburg was required, under FA rules, to remain 30 minutes after the final whistle to give managers a ‘cooling off’ period before they can approach the match officials. But there were few cool heads around during what happened next.

On entering the referee’s room, it is alleged Mikel had to be restrained from physically attacking Clattenburg. He accused the official of racially insulting him and demanded an apology. But a shocked Clattenburg flatly denied it, saying: ‘You must be f***ing joking’. The officials all witnessed the dramatic scenes. Nigerian-born Mikel speaks perfect English.

HOW DID THE POLICE GET INVOLVED

A complaint by Peter Herbert, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, triggered their investigation, even though he had no evidence.

He made his complaint based on press coverage and defended his actions by telling The Times: ‘We don’t need to be there to report an incident. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.’

He added: ‘Hate crimes cannot be tolerated and should be pursued through the official channels with vigour.’

TOO QUICK TO JUDGE

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay blustered his way through a talkSPORT interview two weeks ago over John Terry and his hot-headed approach in the corridor on Sunday is surprising.

Chelsea released a statement two hours after the final whistle. No one had a chance to cool down and rationalise the alleged events. Instead, a club that has been involved in a protracted racist row steamed in to another one.

Clattenburg filed an ‘extraordinary incident’ report on Sunday evening, which was picked up by the FA’s governance department on Monday morning. There was very little detail, a tactic referees use to avoid charging players for post-match incidents.

Distraction: Ramires scored for Chelsea against Manchester United on Wednesday night but appears key to the whole case against Clattenburg

Distraction: Ramires scored for Chelsea against Manchester United on Wednesday night but appears key to the whole case against Clattenburg

However, Chelsea’s complaint to the match delegate Nick Cusack means the referee and his assistants now have to provide a thorough report on the incidents on the field and the heated post-match row with Mikel.

Clattenburg has told friends he wishes he hadn’t sent Torres off. Despite FA and police enquiries, he is also willing to speak with the media about his experience. He says he has nothing to hide, is comfortable with his conduct and will co-operate fully with the authorities.

After the fevered atmosphere had calmed down on Monday morning, Chelsea brought in lawyers to interview players and advise the club whether to advance a complaint to the FA. They have interviewed players, managers and executives. They will instruct Chelsea on the chance of meeting the FA’s civil standard of proof — ‘balance of probabilities’ — in an independent commission hearing. After Chelsea’s experience with John Terry, this is a massive call.

This is a case that will turn on a player’s grasp of English, interpretation of a referee’s regional accent and the technology used by match officials.
Chelsea will have to provide sufficient evidence that Clattenburg used the word ‘monkey’, and must be confident the club can present a case that does not backfire on them spectacularly.

Billy McKinlay must be careful Shebby Singh at Blackburn – Neil Ashton

A warning to Blackburn's new boss… careful who you trust at the top

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

23:01 GMT, 23 October 2012

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 23 October 2012

Steve Kean walked out on Blackburn Rovers on September 29, less than 24 hours before his team played Charlton in the Championship.

Since then Shebby Singh, appointed global advisor by the chicken farmers Venkys in June, has been on the lookout for a new manager.

This story might help to explain why.

Moving on: Billy McKinlay emerged as a candidate to replace Kean at Blackburn

Moving on: Billy McKinlay emerged as a candidate to replace Kean at Blackburn

He was asked by his bosses in Pune to create a list of managers who, in traditional football parlance, ‘ticked the boxes’. Nothing new there.

Surprisingly for a club that appears to be in such disarray, there has been an enormous amount of interest in the job.

In an interview with Sportsmail on October 12, Singh did a pretty good job of convincing Blackburn’s fans that they are over the worst.

‘There is a feeling of relief,’ he said. ‘I haven’t heard a single grouse or complaint from them and they are more understanding.’

He wants their trust. He wants to build a relationship. He wants to make the right decision.

In the past, when Jack Walker owned the club and after he bequeathed it to trustees, there was a good deal of prestige attached to it.

After Kenny Dalglish, the club has been managed by Ray Harford, Roy Hodgson, Brian Kidd, Tony Parkes, Graeme Souness, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Sam Allardyce.

Looking up: Blackburn chief Shebby Singh pictured at their training HQ

Looking up: Blackburn chief Shebby Singh pictured at their training HQ

They are all familiar names and some of them had a fair degree of success. Blackburn’s fans want another big name to take them back into the Premier League.

Singh knows this and has been taking into account the views of supporters who watched the team win the Premier League title in 1995.

Appointing a former player is an easy-out for any club who are attempting to quell supporter unrest.

The populist choice will always meet with the approval of supporters and it will keep them quiet for a good few weeks while he is reintegrated.

Tim Sherwood was an obvious candidate, the captain of the team that Jack built when they won the league title for the third time in this club’s great history.

Sherwood has an excellent reputation in the game, forged on his work with Tottenham’s young recruits and his ability to spot an uncut diamond.

An alternative was Alan Shearer, who scored 34 Premier League goals in the title-winning season.

During the Mail’s interview with Singh at Rovers’ training ground, he claimed the scepticism among supporters prevented an approach.

‘He never mentions winning the title at Blackburn,’ claimed Singh. ‘It’s always about his days at Newcastle and his status there.’

On to the next man and the name of Billy McKinlay. He ticks the boxes that Singh talked about during an hour-long interview in Kean’s office at the training ground.

Vision: Singh wants Rovers back in the Premier League - and quick

Vision: Singh wants Rovers back in the Premier League – and quick

A former Blackburn player, he is now held in high-regard as Fulham’s first team coach and also assists Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

The resources are meagre, but McKinlay deserves a pat on the back for being part of the set-up that drew 1-1 with Portugal in a World Cup qualifier last week.

Little wonder that he is suddenly on Singh’s radar. Word gets around in football and on Sunday afternoon, at 4.35pm, I sent Shebby Singh the following text message:

‘Hi Shebby, hope you’re well. If I write that you’ve made an approach for Billy McKinlay to be the new manager would that be accurate’

It is not uncommon in these circumstances to hear nothing and for good reason. Better to ignore than lie to someone who you have regular dialogue with.

The alternative is to confirm it, or send a diplomatic text back: ‘No comment’, or ‘I can’t talk about the manager’.

Then it is understood that it is delicate and the powerbrokers at Blackburn are not in a position to talk.

Aiming for the top: Jordan Rhodes is spearheading Blackburn's drive

Aiming for the top: Jordan Rhodes is spearheading Blackburn's drive

Instead, Shebby Singh responded at 5pm with the following emphatic message: ‘It would be way off the mark.’

No problem, we move on. At least it was checked out with the man running things at Rovers these days. Better to do that than catch a cold with a story that has a new name in the frame at Ewood Park every day.

Within 24 hours Singh made an approach to Fulham for their first-team coach and even specified a meeting place if permission had been granted.

At 43, McKinlay is keen to make his mark in management and is willing to talk to Rovers about replacing Kean as their next manager.

By all accounts McKinlay deserves a chance to become a manager, working hard behind the scenes to establish himself as a first-class coach.

His Blackburn connections should help and his reputation as a good communicator extends beyond his current roles at Fulham and with Northern Ireland, although Rovers have now gone cold on the idea.

Whoever decides takes the job, he will be well-advised to take great care about the people he comes into contact with.

Ryder Cup: Jose Maria Olazabal has wild-card poser

Monty and Gallacher at odds over Jose's Ryder Cup wild-card poser

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 25 August 2012

The dilemma facing Jose Maria Olazabal as he finally sits down to choose his Ryder Cup wild-cards has become more complex with golf events this weekend on both sides of the Atlantic.

In racing parlance, England’s Ian Poulter is an odds-on certainty to get a pick given his Cup record and victories in the past two years in both the high-profile Accenture and Volvo Matchplay Championships.

But opinion is deeply divided on the two big rivals for the second pick, which has boiled down to a straightforward choice between Ireland’s triple major winner and six-time Ryder Cup veteran Padraig Harrington and the previously uncapped but power-hitting 29-year-old Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.

Race is on: Nicolas Colsaerts hopes to make the Ryder Cup team

Race is on: Nicolas Colsaerts hopes to make the Ryder Cup team

Olazabal’s deliberations will not have been made any easier by the conflicting advice he was offered by former Ryder Cup captains Bernard Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie.

Gallacher, who captained Europe twice in defeat at Kiawah Island in 1991 and The Belfry in 1993 but also in a shock win at Oak Hill in 1995, believes Olazabal should ignore the claims of Colsaerts.

He needs to finish in the top two in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on Sunday to edge Martin Kaymer out of the 10th and final automatic spot for the European team, and his chances of doing that subsided after he shot a third-round 71 to trail the Medinah-bound leader Paul Lawrie by six shots.

Gallacher said: ‘My view is rookies should win their way into the side, so I would be reluctant to pick Colsaerts as a wild-card. You’re taking a big chance on a guy who has only really broken through this year.

‘Good luck to him if he can finish in the top two at Gleneagles and knock Kaymer out of the top 10. But, if not, I would go for Harrington for what he brings to the team. He’s won three majors, he has wide experience of so many situations, he’s a good foursomes and fourball player — and he’s a good guy to put in.

In contention: Padraig Harrington is also hoping to make the European team

In contention: Padraig Harrington is also hoping to make the European team

‘Last time he played with Ross Fisher, and they were a good pairing. Fisher got a lot of help from Harrington and he can act like a captain on the course, in a way.

‘He has a lot to offer. I was surprised to hear that Olazabal and Harrington do not get on, but I would hope that would not affect the decision.’

Gallacher believes that if Kaymer drops out of the top 10 he should not be considered for a wild card on form but also because he failed to turn up at Gleneagles to push his case.

‘I’m sure Olazabal would have been disappointed with Kaymer for not playing in the Johnnie Walker to try to cement his place but also to show what form he was in.

‘Olazabal reduced his wild-card picks from three to two to encourage players to try to qualify, but it hasn’t worked with Kaymer. He’s just hoping for the best.’

But Gallacher’s views were in stark contrast to Montgomerie’s 24 hours after Harrington squandered an opportunity to catch the eye by shooting a second-round 75 at the Barclays Fedex Cup play-off in America, having led after carding a 64 on Thursday.

Decision time: Jose Maria Olazabal must decide his team

Decision time: Jose Maria Olazabal must decide his team

Montgomerie said: ‘You’ve got to think now Colsaerts and Poulter, haven’t you And it would be no surprise if that’s what he decides on Monday morning.

‘Harrington has a lot to do to win that tournament in America, and it looks a lot easier decision than I had. It gives him an experienced team; all apart from Colsaerts having had Ryder Cup experience.

‘I went in with five rookies and he would be going in with one, and you need that in America.

‘Let’s not beat around the bush here; this is going to be difficult.

‘This is going to be very difficult to play away from home in America, and we need experience there. He’s got 11 out of 12 that have been in the Ryder Cup before and I’m sure that’s what he wants.’

Olazabal did make one decision on Saturday when he named his fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez as his fourth vice-captain, completing a quartet that already included Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

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Ryder Cup