No case to answer for Clattenburg

No case to answer for Clattenburg
Referee Mark Clattenburg argues with Chelsea players

Chelsea players confront Mark Clattenburg

First the police, and now the Football Association, have decided that referee Mark Clattenburg did nothing wrong when officiating at Stamford Bridge.

The Police dropped their investigation into the alleged use of abusive language by referee Mark Clattenburg. The police rightly say there is “a lack of evidence.” I’ll go further. There is NO evidence.

The complaint to the police was made by the Society of Black Lawyers. Not by anyone at the game. They contacted the Met based on media reports of the alleged incident.

How ridiculous is that? writes Vernon Grant. Lawyers wasting police time.

Chelsea FC complained only to the Football Association, claiming Calttenburg had made inappropriate or racist comments about one of their players. The FA will give their decision about that complaint on Friday.

Chelsea are now in serious danger of becoming public enemy number one.

I fear the row over referee Mark Clattenburg is going to blow up in the face of the blues and, instead, leave them red faced.

I wish certain people at the club had counted to ten. The story now coming out of Stamford Bridge is that the player the referee supposedly insulted, John Mikel Obi, did not hear the ref call him anything. But that one of his fellow players, the Brazilian Ramires Santos de Nascimento, came into the dressing room after the came and alleged he had heard Clattenburg call Mikel “a monkey.”

Mind you, that was after the non English speaking Santos sought verification for what he thought he heard from another player, fellow Brazilian David Luiz.

If that is the extent of the ‘evidence’ Chelsea have against the referee, then I am not sure even John Terry’s legal team can make this one stick.

None of us know what was said. It is now quite possible that the only man who knows what was said is Mark Clattenburg. Chelsea have managed to make many football fans feel sorry for this less than universally popular, innocent until proven guilty, referee. That is quite an achievement!

There is a siege mentality developing at Stamford Bridge. Akin to the dark days of the 1970’s when Ken Bates ensured the club was loathed by many.

In the 1990’s I worked for Chelsea FC for a couple of seasons producing their in house videos and I found it to be a friendly, inclusive club in those days. Even as late as when the super fit Gianfranco Zola was performing wonders, the club trained near my London home and allowed fans to come and watch training.

Since success, and the move to their fortress of a training complex at Cobham, I sense the club has distanced itself from almost everyone.

Roberto Di Matteo is a good guy and a man I respected long before he took Chelsea to Champions League glory – despite knowing that his ultimate boss was trying to persuade others to become the new permanent manager in his place.

You only have to win things for the rest of the footballing world to dislike you. We all know that.

But I have respected what Chelsea have achieved in terms of results since the days when I was there interviewing the likes of Dennis Wise, Andy Townsend and Vinnie Jones. Their forward line then was led by Mick Harford and Robert Fleck.

I thought of those dismal days the night when the much missed Didier Drogba converted the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League. I was pleased for the club and for those fans I went to school with. The ones who, somehow, can still afford to go to home games.

In all honesty, the playing staff were not 100% united behind club captain John Terry regarding his own race driven row.

But those who were not kept their mouths shut and, eventually, left to play abroad. They put club unity before their own feelings about Terry. Perhaps one day one of those players will write a book and say what he really thought about his club captain.

But right now club unity has turned the Blues into a club with a chip on their collective shoulders. Chelsea Football Club now despises the Football Association more than it did when Ken Bates was constantly at loggerheads with the governing body.

I find it hard to believe that Mark Clattenburg used racial abuse against Chelsea players. If it is proved he did then, clearly, his career should be over.

I cannot see that happening. I also cannot see him officiating at a Chelsea game again in the foreseeable future.

Chelsea have antagonised all referees with this accusation.

That may yet come back to haunt them.

As for the Society of Black Lawyers i suggest that, as with all lawyers, they go back to doing everything they can to make sure the guilty go free. After all, that’s what lawyers do best!

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