• Premier League

Clattenburg decision due next week

ESPN staff
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Mark Clattenburg will miss a third round of Premier League matches due to the investigation © PA Photos
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Referee Mark Clattenburg will have to wait until next week to discover the outcome of the FA investigation into a Chelsea complaint against him.

The FA has told ESPN that the delay is due to the complexities of its probe, which is set to run into a third week.

Clattenburg will now miss a third weekend of Premier League fixtures, having been taken off the list of match officials because of the ongoing investigation into claims he directed "inappropriate language" at Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel during the team's 3-2 defeat at home to Manchester United on October 28. Clattenburg strongly denies the claim.

Another allegation made against the official, for abusing midfielder Juan Mata, was later dropped by Chelsea, but they pressed ahead and reported the comment about Mikel to the FA following their own internal inquiry, which was headed by an outside legal firm.

The governing body's lawyers are studying witness statements and evidence. Clattenburg, assistant referees Michael McDonough and Simon Long, fourth official Michael Jones and several Chelsea players, including Mikel, have all been interviewed as part of the investigation.

A probe by the Metropolitan Police into the alleged incident was closed on Tuesday as no one with direct involvement in the issue made a complaint to police.

Earlier this week, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck gave a lengthy interview defending the club's decision to pursue their complaint in light of club captain John Terry's recent suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, while Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech said he is eager for the episode to end as soon as possible.

Chelsea, currently third in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Manchester United, travel to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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