Chelsea's ref complaint probed

2012-10-29 17:40

London - The English Football Association (FA) has launched an investigation into an official complaint from Chelsea after the club accused referee Mark Clattenburg of verbally abusing two of their players in Sunday's defeat by Manchester United.

"The FA has begun an investigation relating to allegations made following Sunday's fixture at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United," it said on its website ( on Monday.

The affair is likely to plunge English soccer, which is only just recovering from one damaging crisis surrounding Chelsea, straight back into a new one involving the European champions.

Chelsea host United again in Wednesday's League Cup fourth-round match and although teams often rest leading players in the competition, the clash may take on extra significance given the controversy surrounding Sunday's Premier League encounter.

Chelsea said Clattenburg, who sent off two home players - Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres - in the highly-charged 3-2 Stamford Bridge defeat, used "inappropriate language" towards two players.

The club would not name the players in question or of what nature the remarks were, but a spokesperson refused to deny that Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel had visited the referee's room after the game.

Mikel was booked for dissent during the second half.

Chelsea's decision to lodge a complaint against the FIFA-listed referee is largely unprecedented.

The club spokesperson told reporters: "We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regards to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents.

"The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association. We will make no further comment at this time."

Clattenburg not only sent off two players but the officials rubbed salt into Chelsea's wounds by allowing Javier Hernandez's 75th minute goal that swung the outcome United's way to stand, even though he was marginally offside before scoring.

The referee has yet to comment but the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMO), which manages top English referees, said in a statement that Chelsea's allegations were "being treated with the utmost seriousness".

Clattenburg will co-operate fully and "welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established," it added.

A number of Monday's British newspapers simply had the headline "Accused" on their back pages as featured in The Independent, Daily Mirror and Daily Express.

The Guardian had a banner headline "Ref in Chelsea race row" while the Daily Mail proclaimed "Ref Race Row" although those allegations have not been substantiated.

Chelsea are currently without skipper John Terry, who has served two games of a four-match domestic ban for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year.

That case has blighted English soccer for a year after the former England player was also ordered to appear in court accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, of which he was acquitted.

The FA, however, using different standards of proof to guide its charge, found him guilty and fined him £220 000 as well as banning him. Terry waivered his right of appeal earlier this month.

Clattenburg, no stranger to controversy, was criticised by Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo for "ruining" the match.

While Ivanovic could have few complaints after accidentally impeding Ashley Young when the winger was through on goal, the decision to show Torres a second yellow for diving sparked outrage on and off the pitch as he appeared to be clipped.

"We must be disappointed that key decisions were wrong," Di Matteo told reporters.

"At 2-2, we looked like the team that was going to win the game. It was a good game between good teams and the official ruined it. Key decisions have to be right and you don't want the referees to have such a big influence.

"I think it's obvious in the eyes of everybody that the second yellow for Fernando was wrong. It was a foul for us and probably he should have booked their player.

"Their winning goal was an offside goal. It's a shame a game like that had to be decided by officials in that manner. Surely when he sees it, he will realise that he made big mistakes."

Torres's Spanish compatriot Juan Mata, who brought Chelsea back into the game at 2-1 with a stunning free kick, said Torres's dismissal was "incomprehensible".

"But I prefer to focus on the positives from the game - we competed against a great opponent and responded well to falling behind," he added.

Despite trailing 2-0 and clawing their way back to 2-2, Sunday's defeat was Chelsea's first in the Premier League this season but they remained top of the table on 22 points from their opening nine games - one point clear of Manchester United and champions Manchester City.


  • paul.botha.967 - 2012-10-29 18:34

    Bad losers !!

      joe.smit.549 - 2012-10-29 19:43

      Agreed. Move on. Ref was brilliant. I'm a MUFC supporter.

      jacob.molife - 2012-10-29 21:50

      What an ugly win.

  • zhanyana - 2012-10-29 18:45

    the clash of the gaints. What a match, with all spices which attracted soccer lovers, followers

  • mzwandile.dlamanzi - 2012-10-29 18:56

    If he is found guilty, this will only mean he was not neutral in officiating on the day. Which for me will question the legitimacy of their win. The only punishment he deserves will be a life burn in futbal. I hope a big united fan is watching ( howard webb)

  • dehlia.fredericks - 2012-10-29 19:44

    final score: manu 3-chelsea 2! 1 point difference!

  • mabutotafadzwa - 2012-10-29 19:54

    That was an unfair game chelsea was going to win but the ref influenced man time man u watch out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • colingkearns - 2012-10-29 19:56

    He ruined the game though Chelsea should have had 10 men on the pitch WITH 10 United men on the pitch. Rooney's foul was malicious with intent and he should have got a red. The referee's are minipulated by the pres Ferguson gets before each game and he plays them like a fiddle. 3rd goal was offside but no the Anal tradionalists will not use modern technology to make crucial decisions fair. Clattenberg is finished as a ref, after this episode he will never be trusted and will always be suspect.

      gordon.mazibuko - 2012-10-30 12:57

      Clearly you don't understand football and are also a one eyed supporter. Rooneys challenge although cynical was worthy of the yellow and free kick and as he was not the last man on defence there was never a chance of red. Torres was hard done by although many pundits agreed he was fortunate to not have been red carded for his challenge on Cleverly earlier in the half. Clattenburg was to ref a game this tweekend however has stepped down in light of the investigation. This will be the second time that Chelsea have accused a ref of "inappropriate" language and the last time they lost so dont be suprised should history repeat itself

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-10-29 20:06

    Cannot understand the biased comments below. The probe has nothing to do with the ref's officiating. There are already mechanisms in place to punish refs for glaring errors. The probe covers only inappropriate language used to players. And remember that the players were emotional at the time, so if the ref commented on the weather they may have taken offence. Let's wait for the outcome before we judge him too harshly. As for those die-hard Man U haters waiting for points to be docked, dream on!

  • eric.f.moloi - 2012-10-29 20:09

    Even a blind man could see he spoiled de game with his diabolic decision,I felt 4 Torres

  • Nasstrdamous - 2012-10-29 20:27

    D ref must b punish 4 bin an examples 4 others.

  • mitch.dhooghe - 2012-10-29 21:06

    " innapropriate language used by the referee"........WTF!!! Have u seen how much verbal abuse these scum trash throw at the referees! It's about time the ref's don't tolerate anymore.....who do these overpaid under-performing self proclaimed superstars think they are! No respect in the game of football and the problem is not the fans! It's them!

  • jacob.molife - 2012-10-29 21:31

    The FA, the Media, EPL, all shiver when Ferguson opens his mouth. Chelsea wont get justice. Morinho stood up to Ferguson.

  • martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-10-29 21:32

    Strange how the last time Clattenburg reffed Man U was when they lost 6 - 1 to Man City at the beginning of last season. He then gets one of the biggest matches of the weekend, sends off two blue players and United win the match. (Conspiracy?? Who knows?) Then gets accused of racism (the new scourge of English football) by Chelsea who are just a little annoyed that a) they lost and b) they had two red cards and c) they have their own racist captain sitting in the stands.

      jacowium - 2012-10-29 22:18

      Thanks for the much-needed piece of perspective, Ferret! Yes, Chelsea got hard done by - just like ManU has suffered in previous years at the Bridge. The wheel turns, but judging by the hysterics here, not many has realised that yet. Chelsea rode wave after wave of unbelievable luck during the tail end of last season, especially in the Champions League. Non-goals that were awarded, for example. Seems the Chelski fans have grown so used to getting the rub of the green, they expect it to happen every time!

      jacowium - 2012-10-29 22:20

      And oh, the player that Clattenburg sent off in that game against City, was Johnny Evans ... so much for his being biased in favour of ManU!

  • pkmaboko - 2012-10-29 21:55

    The Ref is going to pay for his sins....Even a small kid cannot pass an offside goal like that.....

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-10-29 23:20

      Did you see where the ref was standing at the time? We have the benefit of replays. He makes a decision immediately. Even his linesman missed it. Your frustrations are seriously misplaced.

      gordon.mazibuko - 2012-10-30 12:58

      The LINESMAN calls the offside not the ref you palooka, Secondly it was rather marginal so your "small kid" must have been Clark Kent a.k.a Superman.

  • godfrey.udo.3 - 2012-10-29 22:13

    The english FA shuld torrorly investigate this matter bcos this wil send a bad message to d english premiership.clattenburg is a big disgrace to d refs.i am really disappointed in him.

      ian.wegerle - 2012-10-30 07:45

      Clattenburg for president

      gordon.mazibuko - 2012-10-30 12:59

      I'm sure Clattenburg doesn't care what you think Godfrey especially your disappointment at him as he is not employed by you

  • SirFGrumpy - 2012-10-30 06:16

    Suck it up Chelsea!

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