Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fergie: I Don't Believe Chelsea, the Ref Wouldn't Stoop So Low; United Manager Wades into Race Row as He Defends Mark Clattenburg over Claims He Insulted John Obi Mikel. by Ian Herbert

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fergie: I Don't Believe Chelsea, the Ref Wouldn't Stoop So Low; United Manager Wades into Race Row as He Defends Mark Clattenburg over Claims He Insulted John Obi Mikel. by Ian Herbert

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Herbert

SIR ALEX FERGUSON today attacked Chelsea for accusing referee Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing John Obi Mikel, declaring he simply did not believe them.

Ferguson defended Clattenburg in the strongest possible terms, insisting no official in the modern game would "stoop" to the kind of abuse Chelsea claimed took place during their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"I don't believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that," said the United manager. "I refuse to believe it. I think it's unthinkable in the modern climate. I just don't believe it -- it's a simple as that. There's no way a referee would stoop to that and I'm convinced of that.

"I think if you compare the modern the game with the game 25 years ago it's completely changed. I've played myself and I know the banter that goes on between referees and players is different today [to what it was] 25 years ago. I've never heard of a player ever coming to me in the last 15 years saying a referee has sworn in a game. Ever. So that's where I stand. I don't believe it."

Ferguson's comments during his weekly press conference at United's Carrington training ground this morning were effectively a statement on the issue.

They contributed to a growing sense within the game that Chelsea may have stored up problems for themselves by their rapid and public accusation against the Tyne & Wear official, who has been withdrawn from duties this weekend. Yesterday, Arsene Wenger, whose Arsenal side meet Ferguson's at Old Trafford tomorrow, suggested Chelsea should have kept the matter private "rather than going public with little proof ".

The latest twist in the racism in football story also led the Prime Minister David Cameron to declare today that the Football Association should be doing more to tackle racism. …

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