Compensation calls after race row ref cleared

CHELSEA last night faced calls for compensation and an unreserved apology to Mark Clattenburg after the Football Association found the referee not guilty of racially abusing Blues star John Obi Mikel.

Clattenburg, who has not officiated since the storm erupted following Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United last month, said his time on trial had been “truly frightening” and “the most stressful of his life”.

Referees’ union Prospect demanded Chelsea give Clattenburg “a full and unreserved apology and compensation for loss of earning, damage to reputation and stress”, as well as a donation to anti-racism initiatives in football.

Professional Game Match Officials, which manages referees, said radio communication between referees and their assistants would be recorded in future, but not made public, in order to avoid similar incidents arising.

The FA concluded that Clattenburg had no case to answer as only Mikel’s team-mate Ramires believed he had heard the official say “shut up you monkey”. Mikel himself, other team-mates and Clattenburg’s assistants did not hear the phrase.

Mikel was also charged by the FA with using threatening words or behaviour after he confronted Clattenburg in the referees’ changing room after the 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge on 28 October. He has requested a personal hearing in order to explain what the club called “mitigating circumstances”.

Chelsea highlighted that, despite finding it unfounded, the FA had agreed their complaint against Clattenburg had been made in good faith. The club has been criticised for going public just hours after the match, before a full investigation had been carried out.

“Chelsea accepts the Football Association’s decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter,” they said in a statement. “Chelsea has a duty of care, as do all employers, to act responsibly when such allegations are reported by employees. We did not take the decision to lodge a formal complaint lightly.”