Race row ref Clattenburg opts out of another week’s fixtures

REFEREE Mark Clattenburg will sit out another week of Premier League fixtures following Chelsea’s complaint that he racially abused John Obi Mikel in last month’s match against Manchester United.

Clattenburg is due to meet the Metropolitan Police and the Football Association this week, and Mike Riley, general manager of referee’s body Professional Game Match Officials, said he had opted to sit out.

“PGMOL was fully prepared to appoint Mark to matches this weekend,” said Riley. 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 enquiries.”

Chelsea lodged a formal complaint with the FA on Wednesday that Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” towards Nigerian Mikel in the 3-2 league defeat to United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 28 October. They dropped another allegation that he also verbally abused Spain forward Juan Mata.

The police opened an investigation after receiving a complaint from a member of the Society of Black Lawyers. That followed Chelsea reporting initial concerns to the Premier League’s match delegate.

Clattenburg is thought to deny the claims but is yet to speak publicly.