Chelsea lodged a formal complaint with the Football Association over alleged comments by referee Mark Clattenburg to midfielder John Obi Mikel during a game.
Chelsea said in a statement on its website that Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” to the Nigerian during the Premier League leader’s 3-2 loss to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge three days ago.
“This is a result of a thorough investigation carried out by the club, and led by outside legal counsel, of all information available to us including interviews with a number of players and staff,” Chelsea said.
The club said it reported the matter to the match delegate and then launched its own investigation. This provided insufficient evidence to support a second claim of alleged abuse by Clattenburg of another player it didn’t identify. U.K. media including the Daily Mail identified that player as Spanish midfielder Juan Mata.
The Sun reported that two Chelsea players said they heard Clattenburg racially abuse Mikel, a charge the referee denies. London police and the F.A. have both opened investigations.
“We will cooperate fully with the F.A. and the police as they each investigate the matter,” Chelsea said in its statement. “As events on Sunday are now subject to those investigations we are unable to comment further until those processes are complete.”
The Professional Game Match Officials, a body that manages referees, has said Clattenburg will “cooperate fully” in the process, while Prospect, the referees’ union, said it’s supporting the 37-year-old. Both bodies today said they had nothing to add to their previous statements.
During the match against United, which closed to within a point of the league leader, the referee red-carded Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, and allowed a winning goal that Blues manager Roberto di Matteo said was offside. Clattenburg also yellow-carded Mikel for dissent.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com.