Clattenburg Was 'Uncomfortable' over Chelsea's Visit to Officials' Room

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Harris

REFEREE Mark Clattenburg's report on last Sunday's clashes at Stamford Bridge -- when he was accused of racially abusing Chelsea's John Obi Mikel by calling him 'monkey' -- will centre on the visit Chelsea employees and players made to the officials' room after the match.

And sources claim that the 'extraordinary incident' report will suggest Clattenburg was uncomfortable with what happened during that visit. Contrary to some reports, Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay is understood to have played no part in confronting Clattenburg after the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United. One well-placed source claims that Gourlay actually ushered Chelsea personnel away from the officials' room.

Clattenburg is the subject of ongoing investigations by the Football Association and police into the racial abuse accusation, which the 37-year-old has privately denied. He faces the possibility of an FA charge, criminal action and the end of his refereeing career. But the possibility also remains that one or more Chelsea employee could face FA action for their part in confronting the referee.

It is understood that statements from assistant referees Simon Long and Michael McDonough and fourth official Mike Jones will support Clattenburg's assertion that he made no racially abusive remarks.

All three were able to hear and speak to Clattenburg throughout the game using an earpiece system which provides digital quality sound that cuts out background noise.

Chelsea have not disputed the fact that Mikel heard the claim he had been abused by Clattenburg only after the match when he was told by non-English-speaking team-mate Ramires.

His version of the exchange was translated from his native Portuguese by his Brazilian team-mate David Luiz. United's players have been asked by the club whether they heard any abusive comments by Clattenburg during the match and none reported anything untoward. …