Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Union backs Clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg has been backed by the referees' union

The referees' union has pledged its "full support" to Mark Clattenburg after Chelsea accused him of using "inappropriate language" towards John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

The Football Association has launched an investigation into the claims, with the alleged comments understood to have been interpreted as racist. Chelsea made a formal complaint to the match delegate following their 3-2 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

Clattenburg, 37, was given the full backing of Prospect, who said in a statement: "Prospect is committed to helping to eradicate racism in football and in society generally. In the context of that commitment, Prospect is offering full support to Mark Clattenburg in relation to the allegations made against him."

The statement continued: "It is now important that the allegations are fully investigated through the proper process as quickly as possible."

Mikel's agent and Chelsea refused to comment further on the matter but the club did confirm they had decided against holding a press conference to preview Wednesday night's Capital One Cup clash against United.

The Red Devils were similarly taciturn, although it is understood they were unaware whether any of their players heard Clattenburg's allegedly "inappropriate language" and could act as witnesses.

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll told BBC Radio Five Live: "If a comment of a racial nature was made, I think it should be reported and I think assistant referees will report it because there's no place for it."

Jeff Winter, who retired as a referee shortly before Clattenburg became a member of the top flight's Select Group, claimed the official's career was doomed if he was proven to have used racist language towards a player.

"If a match official has used racial insults or language to a player then he's for the high jump," Winter said. "He won't be getting a four-match or an eight-match ban, it'll probably be the end of his career, but that is if indeed he did say anything."

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