Mark Clattenburg to sit out again

November 5, 2012
By Press Association

Mark Clattenburg will not referee a match for a second weekend running as he prepares to answer accusations from Chelsea.

The Football Association is investigating a complaint from Chelsea that the match official used "inappropriate language" toward John Mikel Obi during the Barclays Premier League match against Manchester United, understood to have been interpreted as being racist.

Clattenburg is due to meet the FA this week and the police, after a complaint was made to police officials from the Society of Black Lawyers, and has decided not to take charge of a match.

"PGMOL was fully prepared to appoint Mark to matches this weekend. However, having discussed this with him, we both consider that it is in Mark's best interests that he has this week away from officiating duties while he prepares to help The FA and police with their enquiries," Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, said.

Clattenburg, 37, who is on FIFA's short list to be a match official at the 2014 World Cup, strenuously denies the accusations against him.

The police investigation was launched after Peter Herbert, from the Society of Black Lawyers, made a complaint to the Metropolitan force. He confirmed the complaint was made on the basis of reports rather than first-hand evidence.

Meanwhile, Riley insisted that relations between players and officials have continued to get better.

The issues raised by this case, plus John Terry's four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and the subsequent boycott of a T-shirt campaign by leading players, are likely to be discussed by the anti-discrimination group Kick It Out at a regular board meeting on Wednesday.