Story by Sarah Mobbs
First of all I must apologize for my absence over the last couple of weeks (or indeed what is probably closer to a month). It is down, I am afraid, to a combination of the fact I am now an actual office bod (meaning I work 9 -5.30, Monday – Friday,) that I have been pretty ill with what I believe was woman flu (even worse than man flu… yes, there is something worse than man-flu!) and that our internet connection at home has been absolutely dreadful over the last week or so. Now to it. This week, I’m talking about referees. You might remember my piece, a long long time ago now, I am aware, about respecting the refs. This week, we’re looking at the ref who could do with taking a spoonful of his own medicine.
If you remember the Chelsea v Man United match some weeks ago (28-10-2012), I daresay, especially if you are a Chelsea fan you may have thought that the referee, Mark Clattenburg, was harsh on the Chelsea players, who were by the end of the match two men down due to red cards. However, over the last few weeks, Clattenburg has been defending his position after complaints have been made against him and his conduct.
Chelsea’s Mikel had accused Clattenburg of using inappropriate language and also of there being racial elements to his apparent abuse. The FA has been investigating this claim. And I should think so too. While Clattenburg’s assisstants claim to have heard nothing, Mikel is insistent that the incident occurred. And I suppose when one considers that Clattenburg sent off two Chelsea men (rightly or wrongly) it could be argued that he may have had a problem with the side, enough to later verbally abuse another Chelsea man.
Allegedly, Clattenburg had retorted to a comment made by Mikel with “shut up you monkey”, but on the 23rd of this month, the FA decided to clear Clattenburg, claiming that there was “no case to answer.” With all of the recent cases of racism in football you would think that the refs would be a little more careful with what they let slip out, especially now they expect respectful treatment from the players and fans. However Clattenburg’s assistants have been very clear in their defense of him and the fact that they did not hear any such thing uttered by him.
Despite the fact that in this case, the FA have decided there is too little evidence to even investigate the claim fully, it has brought the PGMOL to begin recording communications between refs and their assistants to avoid the situation being repeated.
And so today, it has been agreed that a line will be drawn under the whole incident and Clattenburg will of course be welcomed back to referee at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have admitted regret at not giving more thought to the claims before placing a complaint, and also the subsequent media attention it has brought around Clattenburg.
This case though, makes you wonder if the whole stigma around racism in football, and respect the ref, will now be taken advantage of, so that eventually we will have a “boy who cried wolf” situation on our hands.
One would hope not, but you really do never know.
I really do hope to have something nice to write about soon. I hate the ugly face of the beautiful game.