Chelsea rail against new Evra incident charge

September 11, 2008

Chelsea have vowed to contest charges by the Football Association concerning groundsman Sam Bethell's altercation with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season.

Bethell had himself been charged with improper conduct and using abusive language aggravated by reference to nationality/race in relation to the incident on April 26.

But at a preliminary hearing on Monday, an independent commission ruled the FA did not have disciplinary jurisdiction over him because Chelsea had failed to inform him that he was subject to body's rules and regulations.

Those charges were therefore dropped and Chelsea have now been charged "for their failure to include the required provisions in his employment contract".

The Stamford Bridge club have also been charged with "failing to ensure that Bethell conducted himself in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from any one or a combination of racist and/or abusive and/or provocative conduct and/or language".

Chelsea have until 25 September to respond to the charges but issued a statement on their website.

"We are surprised and extremely disappointed that the decision to charge the club has been taken nearly five months after the incident," it said.

"The charges will be contested as we understand that no racist language was used and that Sam Bethell was doing no more than trying to defend himself. Chelsea FC is deeply committed to stamping out racist behaviour and would never condone it."

Evra was also charged with improper conduct for the incident, which occurred when the left-back was warming down with his team-mates after they had lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

He denied the charge and requested a personal hearing, which is scheduled for October 2.