Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Clattenburg stood down by PGMO

Mark Clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg has been stood down from refereeing for a week after the Football Association launched an investigation into allegations he used "inappropriate language" towards Chelsea stars John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

Clattenburg was accused by the European champions of making offensive comments, which are understood to have been interpreted as racist, during their Barclays Premier League defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

Chelsea lodged a formal complaint with the match delegate, sparking an almost inevitable chain of events that saw the FA announce an investigation and Professional Game Match Officials withdraw Clattenburg from the firing line.

After deliberately omitting the 37-year-old from the games the refereeing body were due to officiate on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, PGMO said in a statement: "Professional Game Match Officials believe that, with any football match, the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself.

"Mark Clattenburg is one of the elite referees in world football and, in these circumstances, the intense level of scrutiny would detract from the match and be unfair to the clubs and the supporters of both sides."

Meanwhile, Gordon Taylor has urged the FA to deal with Chelsea's accusations against Clattenburg as quickly and fairly as possible.

Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), is wary of the fact that the most recent row concerning racism in football - that involving Blues captain John Terry - dragged on for almost a year before he was banned by the FA, and he does not want this case to go on for such a long period of time.

"We've got to learn the lessons of the last 12 months," Taylor said.

"This is extremely serious for the referee involved so that's why it's important that it is dealt with in the most thorough manner and as quickly, efficiently, and transparently as possible."

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