It doesn’t matter if you think Chelsea are right or wrong in pursuing Mark Clattenburg for alleged racial slurs he made directed at John Obi Mikel; The club didn’t have a choice once players told them what they think they heard. Meanwhile, Clattenburg has once again been left off the list of officials who will be on duty for the matches in all the football leagues this weekend.
According to Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, it was Clattenburg’s choice not to referee a match for a second consecutive week.
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 inquiries.
Clattenburg is under investigation by the Met police and the FA over the alleged racist language used towards John Obi Mikel. Mikel wasn’t the one who heard him use the words, but rather David Luiz, who in hindsight might not have been close enough to hear what was actually said, and Ramires, who isn’t the world’s most fluent English speaker.
Still, it’s not like Chelsea had much of a choice. If one of their players speaks to his managers and other club officials about being racially abused by a referee or anyone on the opposing team, the only thing a team can do is press charges. It’s a word against word issue anyway, unless there’s actual video evidence or audio recordings of what Clattenburg was saying. Now, it’s pretty much the word of the Chelsea players against Calttenburg and his assistants.
Is Clattenburg tainted forever? Among some crowds, probably. He wasn’t the most lovable referee prior to this scandal among the players and obviously fans, and this will obviously paint some sort of target on his back, even if he is cleared of all charges. Whether it’ll be a thing that lasts forever or just a trend remains to be seen. How will this affect Chelsea if the justice they are pursuing turns out to be a wild goose chase? Probably even harder to predict.