Tag Archives: prospect

Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Fraser wanted by Swansea and Wigan

Swansea and Wigan lead chase for young Aberdeen midfielder Fraser

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 7 December 2012

Swansea, Wigan, Leeds and Huddersfield are set to do battle for Ryan Fraser in January after the Aberdeen youngster rejected a new contract.

The Dons are anxious to avoid a compensation battle next summer and are set to offload the 18-year-old midfielder in the new year. Fraser has made just 13 appearances for Aberdeen.

Hot prospect: Young midfielder Fraser (left)

Hot prospect: Young midfielder Fraser (left)

Chelsea admit regrets over Mark Clattenburg race row

We got it wrong over Clattenburg, admit Chelsea… but still no apology for starting ref race storm

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UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 27 November 2012

Chelsea have at last admitted they ‘regret’ being so quick to accuse Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing two of their players — but they have STILL not apologised for making the accusation public.

The club held secret peace talks with Clattenburg and his 15 elite referee colleagues on Monday.

Bruce Buck, the Stamford Bridge chairman, travelled to the National Football Centre at St George’s Park on the request of all Premier League match officials.

Dragged through the mud: Chelsea say they regret the way they acted over the Mark Clattenburg debacle

Dragged through the mud: Chelsea say they regret the way they acted over the Mark Clattenburg debacle

Allegations: Chelsea claimed Clattenburg had referred to John Obi Mikel as a 'monkey'

Allegations: Chelsea claimed Clattenburg had referred to John Obi Mikel as a 'monkey'

They met in a bid to repair the damage
caused by the false accusations of racism that were levelled against
Clattenburg. At some point during the meeting Buck shook hands with the referee.

Part of the discussion even focused on the possibility of Clattenburg taking charge of a Chelsea game in the future.

Referee's union Prospect welcomed the joint statement by PGMOL, the Premier League, and Chelsea.

National secretary Alan Leighton said the use of the word 'regrets' in the joint statement were tantamount to and accepted by Clattenburg and the Select Group as an apology.

'This was an important move forward in confirming Chelsea's recognition of Mark's integrity and impartiality,' he said in a statement.

Leighton said the referees 'welcomed the opportunity to express their concerns about the way that Mark had been treated'.

He added: 'In a thoroughly professional manner, they explained what the impact had been in real terms and that there could be no repetition of the events.'

The joint statement read: ‘A meeting took place on Monday afternoon at St George’s Park between Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the Premier League and Chelsea Football Club.

‘PGMOL were represented by General Manager Mike Riley and all 16 Select Group referees, the Premier League by Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and Chelsea FC by Chairman Bruce Buck.

Trip: Bruce Buck (left) went to St Georges to speak to Clattenburg and the other referees, as well as Mike Riley and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

Trip: Bruce Buck (left) went to St Georges to speak to Clattenburg and the other referees, as well as Mike Riley and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

This is a joint statement from all parties.

‘Following the completion of the
investigation by The FA into the case involving Chelsea FC and Mark
Clattenburg, the Premier League and Chelsea FC requested, and PGMOL
agreed, to meet in order to discuss the issues surrounding the reporting
of the allegation.

‘There
was a constructive and open discussion. The club regrets not having
given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of
Sunday 28th October.

The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family.

‘The referees accept that, given Chelsea
FC had received a good faith claim from one of their employees, the club
had an obligation under FA rules to report the allegation.

‘There was recognition by all parties that the impartiality and integrity of refereeing in this country remains paramount.

Chelsea FC made it clear they would welcome Mark Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future and PGMOL would have no issue in appointing him to a Chelsea FC match going forward.

‘It was a thoroughly professional meeting. All parties now believe it is time to draw a line under this incident, learn from it and move on for the good of all Premier League clubs, players and match officials.’

The Football Association last week decided to take no disciplinary action against Clattenburg following an investigation into Chelsea's allegation he used 'inappropriate language' against midfielder John Obi Mikel, while the police also shelved a probe into the matter.

Wasps 14 Leicester 12: Match report

Wasps 14 Leicester 12: Deadly Varndell and Thomas put Tigers to sword

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UPDATED:

17:19 GMT, 25 November 2012

Lee Thomas came off the bench at half-time to kick two penalties which secured Wasps a narrow victory over Leicester.

Tom Varndell, the Aviva Premiership's leading tryscorer, struck with his eighth of the season against his former club after only three minutes, with fly-half Nick Robinson landing a first half penalty for Wasps.

Wasps were awarded for their bold attacking approach as they maintained their unbeaten record in all competitions at Adams Park this season.

One that got away: Christian Wade evades a tackle

One that got away: Christian Wade evades a tackle

Fly-half George Ford replied with
four penalties for the Tigers, who stay fifth in the table after going
into the match needing an 11-point win to go top and depose leaders
Harlequins.

Varndell finished a slick
threequarter passing move by taking a pass from centre Elliot Daly and
bursting through Mathew Tait's tackle to dive over in the left-hand
corner.

Only a last-ditch tackle by winger
Niall Morris denied Wasps' other winger Christian Wade – second in the
Premiership try-scoring list – his sixth league try of the season.

The 21-year-old hot prospect showed
tremendous footwork, racing past six players on a brilliant run from the
halfway line before being hauled down a metre from the line.

The early pressure paid off with
Leicester conceding a penalty, kicked by Robinson who had failed to
convert Varndell's try from the touchline.

Down: Tom Varndell scores Wasps' first try

Down: Tom Varndell scores Wasps' first try

No way through: Nick Robinson is tackled by Leicester's Sam Harrison and George Ford

No way through: Nick Robinson is tackled by Leicester's Sam Harrison and George Ford

But it was cancelled out by Ford, who opened Leicester's account with a 40-metre penalty five minutes later.

Leicester worked their way back into
the match after the early onslaught but former England hooker George
Chuter twice squandered attacking momentum by throwing long at the
lineout and gifting Wasps possession.

Daly, the home side's long-range
kicking option, attempted a penalty from five metres inside his own
half. He made the distance but was just wide of the post.

A scrum infringement by Tigers presented Wasps with a 40-metre penalty but Robinson's effort rebounded from the post.

/11/25/article-2238214-16350D72000005DC-414_634x427.jpg

No chance: Billy Vunipola powers his way through

Varndell crossed again in the 48th
minute but was denied a second try when the final pass from full-back
Hugo Southwell was ruled forward by the TMO following an excellent
build-up by Robinson and Daly.

Thomas, a half-time replacement for
Chris Bell in the centre, took over the kicking duties to land the 52nd
minute penalty which put Wasps back in front after Leicester were caught
offside 30 metres out.

Seven minutes later Thomas increased
the lead with his second penalty from 40 metres but it was cancelled out
within two minutes by Ford's fourth penalty, which reduced the gap to
two points.

Ford missed the chance to edge
Leicester ahead eight minutes from time when his penalty from wide out
of the left flew just wide of the near post.

At the other end, Thomas was wide for
Wasps from a similar position but they kept Leicester out of their half
in the closing minutes.

Mark Clattenburg race-row: Refs union demand compensation and apology from Chelsea over racism claims… as official returns at Spurs v West Ham

Refs union demand compensation and apology for Clattenburg from Chelsea over racism claims… as official returns at Spurs v West Ham

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UPDATED:

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

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

John Obi Mikel

Mark Clattenburg

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.

The
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

Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month

GRAHAM POLL OFFICIAL LINE
GRAHAM POLL

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
statement.

‘I am looking
forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the
Premier League and other competitions,’ he said.

‘The
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
together.’

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
allegation.’

’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’.

‘At
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

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.’

Mark Clattenburg cleared as John Obi Mikel is charged by FA over race row

Mikel CHARGED as FA clears referee Clattenburg over race row (but still no sorry from Chelsea)

Referee Mark Clattenburg cleared by FA of any racist abuse

Instead Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel is charged with misconduct

Referees will be privately recorded in future to protect them

Clattenburg speaks out about ‘most stressful’ weeks of his life

Still no apology from Stamford Bridge

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UPDATED:

18:03 GMT, 22 November 2012

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been charged by the FA over the Mark Clattenburg race row after the referee was found to have no case to answer.

Mikel accused Clattenburg of using racist language towards him during Chelsea's defeat to Manchester United last month.

Mikel was charged for alleged use of
threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or
around the officials changing room.

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Obi Mikel (right) has been charged by the FA

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Obi Mikel (right) has been charged by the FA

The Nigerian stormed into the ref's
room after the match after being told by team-mate Ramires that Clattenburg had
called him a 'monkey'. Mikel did not hear anything at the
time.

He does not deny the charge but will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances. There has been no apology from the club.

Clattenburg hasn’t refereed a game since and is now clear to return to official duty. He will be named on Friday for one of the fixtures next midweek.

He spoke of his relief and said the last few weeks had been 'the most stressful of his life'.

Clattenburg said: 'I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions.

'I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.

Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month

Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month

'To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly 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.'

Chelsea provided unbroadcast video footage of the game from static cameras on FA’s request.

Back to work: Clattenburg has missed four weeks of Premier League fixtures since the controversial game

Back to work: Clattenburg has missed four weeks of Premier League fixtures since the controversial game

The FA said the evidence had been considered by independent QC David Waters who ruled Ramires' claim was not supported by any other evidence and disputed by the other match officials.

An FA statement added: 'Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg.

'Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.'

Alan Leighton, national secretary of Prospect, the referees union, would like Chelsea to apologise and compensate Clattenburg for what he has been through.

'There was no doubt he was innocent,' he told Sky Sports News. 'There are lessons to be learned. Mark is very upset that 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.'

FULL STATEMENTS FROM CHELSEA, MARK CLATTENBURG AND THE FA

CHELSEA STATEMENT

'Chelsea Football Club accepts the Football Association's decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter.

'The FA states Chelsea took the correct action following the Manchester United match and encourages all players who believe they have been either subject, or witness, to discriminatory abuse to report the matter immediately to the match officials on the day, and in turn to the FA.

'The club also notes the charge brought against John Mikel Obi. While the player does not deny the charge, he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances.

'With regards to the Mark Clattenburg decision, the club accepts the case is now concluded and notes the FA states the allegation was made in good faith.

'Chelsea FC cooperated fully with the FA and provided 11 witness statements covering all events during and after the Premier League game on October 28.

'Chelsea FC has a duty of care, as do all employers, to act responsibly when such allegations are reported by employees.

'We did not take the decision to lodge a formal complaint with the FA lightly and followed the correct processes and protocols throughout.

'The club carried out a thorough investigation, led by outside legal counsel, using all information available to us. As the FA makes clear, it is not uncommon for investigations to lead to no disciplinary charge being brought.

'All those directly involved have been subjected to scrutiny over the last weeks. Chelsea FC now hopes that all concerned can continue to carry out their duties without prejudice.

'We are committed to working alongside all referees and their assistants to ensure games are conducted in the right spirit and that all our players and staff accept and observe the match officials' authority and decisions.'

MARK CLATTENBURG STATEMENT

'I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions.

'I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect.

'The 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 truly 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 all fortunate to be working in the worlds most watched and scrutinised football league. With that comes a responsibility in regard to how the different parts of the game work together.

'What has happened over the last few weeks should not overshadow the fact the on-pitch relationship between match officials, players and managers is the best we've ever known it.

'We are proud of the integrity of refereeing in this country and I cannot wait to be back involved in the game I care so passionately about.'

FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION STATEMENT

'The FA has concluded its investigation into alleged misconduct by Mark Clattenburg during the match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC on Sunday 28 October 2012. No disciplinary action will follow against Mr Clattenburg.

'Following the conclusion of the match, Chelsea FC reported to the match delegate that two of their players had been separately subject to abuse by the match referee, Mark Clattenburg.

'On Monday 29 October 2012, The FA contacted Chelsea FC to establish whether the club and individual players wished to make a formal complaint in relation to the allegations reported to the match delegate.

'On Wednesday 31 October Chelsea FC contacted The FA and confirmed that the club had conducted an internal enquiry and that they did wish to proceed with a formal complaint in relation to one of the allegations of abuse. The club did not wish to proceed in relation to the other allegation. The club provided witness statements from two players, Ramires Santos do Nascimento (“Ramires”) and John Obi Mikel.

'The details of the allegation were that following one or the other of the red cards issued during the second half of the game, Ramires heard Mark Clattenburg say to John Obi Mikel, “shut up you monkey”. John Obi Mikel did not hear the alleged comment.

'On 1 November 2012, The FA requested that Chelsea disclose full details of their internal investigation.

'On 5 November 2012, Chelsea FC provided The FA with witness statements from other Chelsea FC players and officials.

'On 5 November 2012, The FA interviewed Ramires and John Obi Mikel, using the TV match footage obtained by The FA.

'Between 7 and 8 November 2012, The FA interviewed all four match officials.

'On 9 and 14 November 2012, further to FA requests, Chelsea FC provided unbroadcast video footage of the game from static cameras.

'On 15 November 2012, The FA re-interviewed Ramires to show him the previously unseen video footage provided by the club. At this stage, for the first time, the exact point at which the comment was alleged to have been made was established.

'In light of this new information, between 15 and 19 November 2012, The FA interviewed the players who were in the vicinity of the alleged incident, and re-interviewed John Obi Mikel and the match officials.

'Chelsea FC was offered the opportunity to provide any further information or evidence that they believed could be relevant to the allegation.

'The FA then sought advice on the evidence gathered from independent Queen's Counsel.

'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 Obi Mikel as to what the referee had said.

'John Obi Mikel, 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 allegation.

'For completeness, but of lesser weight, two other players, whose first language is English and were in the vicinity, did not hear anything untoward.

'Having considered all of the available evidence it was the opinion of David Waters QC, independent counsel, that the evidence of Ramires was not supported by any other evidence.

'Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg.

'Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.

'Equally The FA is satisfied that the allegation against Mark Clattenburg by Ramires was made in good faith. It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief.

'The FA receives and investigates numerous allegations of misconduct over the course of a season. All allegations are properly investigated. It is not uncommon for investigations to lead to no disciplinary charge being brought.

'The FA encourages all players who believe they have been either subject, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report the matter immediately to the match officials on the day.

'Furthermore, all Participants are advised to report any such alleged misconduct to The FA. In this case, the player and club were correct in reporting the matter to The FA and it was appropriate and proper for such an allegation to be thoroughly investigated.'

Jeremy Kyle has Wincanton winner and Zarkandar stakes Champion Hurdle claim

Jeremy Kyle has Wincanton winner and Zarkandar stakes Champion claim

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UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 10 November 2012

Zarkandar (100-30) fuelled his claims for the Champion Hurdle and surprised trainer Paul Nicholls when outpointing stablemate Prospect Wells in the totepool.com Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

Fifth in last season's Champion and a faller when previously seen in action at Aintree, the diminutive Zarkandar showed with a determined display under Daryl Jacob that, in a tight situation, class will out.

Champion Hurdle prospect: Zarkandar and Daryl Jacob (right) clear the last flight with Prospect Wells

Champion Hurdle prospect: Zarkandar and Daryl Jacob (right) clear the last flight with Prospect Wells

It was a perfect start to the campaign for Jacob, who because Ruby Walsh is expected to ride Hurricane Fly throughout the season is set to be aboard Zarkandar for all his races.

Despite giving his rival 17lb, Zarkandar cruised up to join Prospect Wells still on the bridle two flights from home, and buckled down on the run-in to resist the latter's final thrust under Walsh by a neck.

It was seven lengths back to Balder Succes. Nicholls was all praise for the winner, who William Hill cut to 10-1 from 12s for the Champion.

He said: 'He's done well, real well, and I never had him looking as good as this for the whole of last season.

'For him he looks big and well, and in the last fortnight he's just suddenly picked up. Ruby thought the 17lb would swing it and I told the owners that win, lose or draw he would come on for the run.

'Zarkandar will now go for the Bula (International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December) )and we're right back where we want to be with him. The Bula is the race we've been training him for.

'Then we'll look to bring him back here for the Kingwell in the new year. Prospect Wells is a rattling good handicapper and will win a nice race.

Winning owners: Jeremy Kyle with his wife, former model Carla Germaine, were on the mark at Wincanton

Winning owners: Jeremy Kyle with his wife, former model Carla Germaine, were on the mark at Wincanton

'Today there hardly deserved to be a loser. Prospect Wells lost nothing in defeat, I always hate beating a stablemate but he will win a nice race. Both have run well and I am chuffed for both of them.'

Fairy Rath was gameness personified in making every yard of the running in the totepool Mobile Text Tote To 89660 Handicap Chase.

The Nick Gifford-trained six-year-old
ran virtually to the pound with Henry San as he turned round recent
Chepstow placings with that rival.

Denis O'Regan did not intend to lead
on the 5-1 shot, but was encouraged to do so when there was a sedate
early pace and his mount winged the first.

Fairy Rath had fought off all bar
Henry San when that rival joined him two out, and survived an awkward
jump at the last before going away again to score by a length and a
quarter.

It was a further 21 lengths back to the third, Sum Laff.

Fairy Rath is owned by talk show host Jeremy Kyle's wife, Carla.

The couple are in the Caribbean with Andy Stewart and are not believed to have seen the race.

O'Regan said: 'He was very game. He picked up again after the last and then just idled.'

Houblon Des Obeaux made all the running for Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman in the totepool Rising Stars Novices' Chase.

In what looked on paper to be a red-hot renewal, Houblon Des Obeaux was preferred in the market by several rivals and went off at 9-1, in spite of having been impressive when scoring on his debut over fences at Worcester.

Measuring his fences with accuracy, the five-year-old benefited from the jumping deficiencies of Aegean Dawn (unseated rider second) and Court In Motion (bad mistake middle fences down back) to come home four and a half lengths clear of Poungach, who rallied to catch Court In Motion for second.

Coleman said: 'That was super. We were a bit worried that there wasn't going to be a lot of pace and he wants further, so I had to pop out and make it. He jumped for fun and will do even better over a longer trip. If he carries on along this path he could be an RSA Chase type.'

Coral gave the winner a 25-1 quote for the RSA.

Miss Milborne took the spoils in a Bet totequadpot Test Tote To 89660 Mares' Handicap Hurdle in which five of the 10-strong field were line-abreast approaching the final flight.

You could have thrown a blanket over the protagonists, but on the run-in Jamie Snowden's mare showed the best resolve to forge two lengths and three clear of Prima Porta and Tempest River under Harry Skelton.

It is the dream of the winner's part-owner Adrian Brown to land the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, as he is CEO (UK) for the same company.

Snowden observed: 'She is as tough as nails and had a good blow on her comeback at Chepstow. The trip was too short and we knew that had put her spot on for today.

'She can be the first off the bridle, as she was at Towcester, but she's a mare with plenty of guts and that counts for so much.

'All being well she'll run next in a mares' Listed race at Kempton in a fortnight.'

Kings Lad helped make it a red-letter week for Colin and Joe Tizzard when he floored 2-7 favourite Mr Mole in the Bet totescoop6 Text Tote To 89660 EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.

Fresh from their Haldon Gold Cup triumph with Cue Card at Exeter, the father and son trainer/jockey combo can do little wrong and Kings Lad (5-1) defied connections' belief that he would improve for the outing.

In charge after the penultimate flight, he never looked like being reeled-in and came home with a seven-length cushion over the disappointing market leader.

Owner Graham Gingell, related to Tizzard as his son married the trainer's daughter, said: 'Colin thought he would need the run so we didn't get carried away. It was his first run since May and we are over the moon.'

Gingell spotted and purchased Kings Lad at Doncaster Sales as a three-year-old. He and wife, Sylvia Musgrove, live just a mile from Wincanton.

Crystal Palace have loads of Zahas, says new boss Ian Holloway

We've got loads of Zahas: New boss Holloway impressed by Palace starlets

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 7 November 2012

Ian Holloway insists there are plenty more players like Wilfried Zaha in Crystal Palace's youth set up.

The Championship club have slapped a 20million price tag on the 19-year-old winger after Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City sent scouts to watch him.

Hot prospect: Wilfried Zaha

Hot prospect: Wilfried Zaha

And Holloway, who took charge for the first time on Tuesday night in a 5-0 demolition of Ipswich, expects more to follow.

He said: 'The main reason I came here is because behind this group is a wonderful youth set up run by Gary [Issott]. If Wilfried turned out like that I'll find more diamonds.

Bright future: Ian Holloway

Bright future: Ian Holloway

'I've already seen it. I'm not ever going to bring a player here who blocks our youth players. I'm going to play them first and give them a chance to do it. It's all about producing players and this club has done it for years and years.

'That's what I want to do. I'd love to be at this club for a long, long time and see all sorts of Zahas coming through and see how we can do. They've got a fantastic catchment area and hard work going on behind the scenes.'

Holloway singled out 19-year-old Jonathan Williams and 20-year-old Ibra Sekajja as two youngsters who have already caught his eye.

And he joined the long list of managers piling plaudits on to Zaha, who turns 20 on Saturday.

The 49-year-old added: 'God knows how good Wilfried is going to be, I don't know. I've never seen anything like him with the ball, I just want to give him two to see what he does with them.'

Tom Ince catches the eye again as Manchester United ramp up interest in Blackpool ace

Ince catches eye again as Man United ramp up interest in Blackpool starlet

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UPDATED:

09:21 GMT, 7 November 2012

Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Blackpool’s highly-rated midfielder Tom Ince.

The 20-year-old enhanced his growing reputation by scoring in the 2-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

Hot prospect: Blackpool's Tom Ince

Hot prospect: Blackpool's Tom Ince

Sir Alex Ferguson has ordered his scouts to keep tabs on the midfielder, who could follow in his dad Paul's footsteps and join the Old Trafford side.

The England Under 21 international has been a revelation at Blackpool since joining from Liverpool last year.

The 20-year-old was wanted by Swansea in the summer transfer window but opted to remain with the Tangerines

Jamaica want Raheem Sterling as England face losing him

Jamaica make play for Sterling as England risk losing Liverpool starlet

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 October 2012

England are facing a fresh fight to secure the international future of hot prospect Raheem Sterling.

Jamaica president Horace Burrell will fly in to the country this week in a bid to snatch the Liverpool youngster from under the Football Association's noses.

And Sportsmail understands the youngster is keen on holding talks with Burrell and is open to the idea of representing the country of his birth.

Tug of war: Raheem Sterling (right) is wanted by England and Jamaica

Tug of war: Raheem Sterling (right) is wanted by England and Jamaica

The FA appeared to have beaten the Reggae Boys to Sterling after calling the teenager up to the full England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine before being named in Stuart Pearce's previous Under 21 squad.

But England will now be sweating on how this week's discussions between Sterling and Burrell pan out, with the Liverpool starlet happy to give Burrell the chance to make his pitch.

Sterling's mother is known to want her son to represent Jamaica – where the 17-year-old lived until the age of five.

Hopes: Roy Hodgson (right) wants Sterling to represent England

Hopes: Roy Hodgson (right) wants Sterling to represent England

England manager Roy Hodgson could look to appease Sterling's international ambition by naming the youngster in his squad for the friendly against Sweden next month.

Burrell said: 'Based on the FIFA rules Raheem is still eligible for us. We think it is worthwhile to speak.'

Sterling will only be fully committed to a nation when he plays a competitive fixture.

Over and out! Scotland hit rock bottom but Levein still won"t quit

Over and out! Scotland hit rock bottom in Belgium but Levein says he still won't quit

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UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 16 October 2012

Craig Levein ignored the growing clamour for his resignation despite watching Scotland hit rock bottom of their World Cup group.

Although he defiantly insisted: ‘I won’t quit’, his position now appears untenable after the nation’s dreams of Brazil 2014 finally died here.

Defeat to a classy Belgian side saw two goals in two minutes from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany break Scots’ resistance — and pressure will now mount on SFA chief executive Stewart Regan to bring Levein’s ill-fated 35-month reign to an end.

Shaken to the core: Craig Levein can't hide his disappointment as he shakes hands with Allan McGregor after defeat in Brussels left Scotland at the foot of Group A

Shaken to the core: Craig Levein can't hide his disappointment as he shakes
hands with Allan McGregor after defeat in Brussels left Scotland at the foot of Group A

Macedonia’s victory over Serbia left the Scots bottom of Group A with just two points from four matches and the grim prospect of 16 years without appearing at a major international finals.

The Tartan Army made their feelings clear when they unfurled a banner reading ‘Strachan SOS’, with Gordon Strachan the fans’ choice to replace the under-fire Levein.

Despite a pitiful campaign so far, the Fifer was in denial after last night’s 2-0 defeat, making it clear he won’t walk away from his 400,000-a-year post, despite a growing feeling he has reached the end of the road.

Levein said: ‘No, not at all. I’m very proud to be the Scottish national team manager and I want to continue to do so.

‘I’ve been in football long enough to understand when the players are trying at their maximum and when they are trying to do their best for each other and the team.

‘Absolutely tonight, and on Friday night in Wales, they did everything they could. They didn’t have any energy left at the end of the match. They have done everything possible to try and get a result for Scotland.

‘I understand that we are bottom of the group. But I absolutely look at the performances and I can tell you we definitely deserved something from the match on Friday evening.

‘The players gave everything they could to win the game and something outwith their control had an influence on that.

Low point: Scotland players trudge off after a comprehensive defeat

Low point: Scotland players trudge off after a comprehensive defeat

‘I see again tonight a group of players who are hungry and desperate to do well. So, as long as that is the case, I am quite happy to be working with these players.’

Under contract until June 2014, Levein’s position would now appear hopeless.

Friendlies either side of Christmas against Luxembourg and Estonia beckon, but the real decision surrounds the next qualifier at home to Wales next March.

‘All I can tell you is that I want to remain as the manager,’ said Levein, who is under contract until June 2014. ‘That’s what I want to do.

‘Other than that, you will have to ask other people the questions you are asking me.

‘We are looking at a situation where we have to improve as a nation and a country in our production of football players. Belgium are the perfect example.

‘They have a system in place and if you stick with it you have the opportunity to produce players we were playing against tonight.

‘That’s something I feel is really important. So I will do the absolute best I can.

‘They are doing their best for me. They are doing their best for the country and, as far as I am concerned then, 100 per cent, I want to work with them.’