The ongoing problem of racism in Premiership Football took a new turn over the weekend with Chelsea lodging a formal complaint about the behaviour of Mark Clattenburg, the referee during a heated match against Manchester United. The complaint alleges the use of ‘inappropriate language’ towards two Chelsea players in a fraught game that ended at 3-2 to the Manchester club. It is understood that the complain centres at least partly around the use of racist language by the referee.
A spokesman for Chelsea F.C. explained:
“We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate. The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association.”
In a standard match all four of the match officials wear microphones and an earpiece that allows them to hear what each is saying. However, it is understood that these conversations are not recorded. The Professional Game Match Officials, the organisation that represents referees, stated that it was aware of the complaint and that Clattenburg would comply fully with the investigation.
Steward Hurt by Thrown Object
The match also saw a steward apparently injured by an object thrown from the crowd, as well as two Chelsea players – Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres – sent off in the space of a few minutes. There was also the subject of a controversial goal by United’s Javier Hernandez which the Chelsea contingent are convinced should not have stood. One of the players believed to be involved in the complaint about the referee is Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi.
Racism has loomed large in football news of late with the ‘Kick it Out’ campaign being controversially snubbed by noted coloured players, and also with regard to Chelsea’s John Terry and alleged racist insults, for which he was acquitted by the courts. The Football Association, however, later found him guilty of the accusations.
Clattenburg, who lives in Durham, is one of the leading referees in the English game and regularly officiates at matches in Europe, and was prominent in the Olympic football competition this summer.