Union backs Clattenburg

PA Sport

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.

Clattenburg is waiting to hear whether the Football Association will launch an investigation into allegations he made comments towards Mikel and Mata, which are understood to have been interpreted as racist, during the Blues' defeat to Manchester United on Sunday. Chelsea made a formal complaint to the match delegate, whose report was expected to arrive at FA headquarters on Monday.

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.

It is unclear how many Chelsea players witnessed what transpired but almost certain to be called upon should there be an investigation are Clattenburg's assistants and fourth official, with each connected by a microphone and earpiece throughout the game.

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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