- Premier League
FA won't take action against Clattenburg
The Football Association has announced referee Mark Clattenburg will not face disciplinary action over a complaint of an alleged racist comment directed towards Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.
The FA decided there is "no case to answer'' over the allegation the referee said "shut up you monkey'' to Mikel. An FA statement also said the complaint by Mikel's team-mate Ramires was "made in good faith''.
Mikel, meanwhile, has been charged for an alleged use of threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or around the match officials' changing room following his side's game with Manchester United on October 28.
Clattenburg spoke of his relief and said the last few weeks had been "the most stressful of his life''. He 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.
"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 later released a statement on their official website, saying: "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."