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Football | Barclays Premier League

Clattenburg set for Premier League return



Referee Mark Clattenburg will return to action this weekend after being cleared of racially abusing Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, the Premier League announced on Friday.

The 37-year-old will be the fourth official in the match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

He will then referee the game between Southampton and Norwich City on Wednesday next week.

On Friday, the Football Association said Clattenburg had "no case to answer" after an investigation into claims he insulted Mikel during a league match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last month.

Referees' union Prospect have led calls for Chelsea to issue an apology to Clattenburg and the club are reported to be considering their response.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he was pleased that Clattenburg had been cleared, and appeared to criticise Chelsea for making the allegation in the first place.

"I did not believe it anyway," said Ferguson. "The unfortunate thing for Mark is that he has had to carry that stain for the last few weeks. Everyone in the game is pleased for him now – apart from Chelsea."

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes Chelsea erred by making the complaint public.

"Was it right to go public on the issue? I would say no. Anything like that should be handled behind closed doors," he said.

Meanwhile, Newcastle United coach Alan Pardew expressed hope that British football fans would welcome Clattenburg's return.

"It was an allegation that has been proven not to be true, and therefore we should all support Mark," he said.

"I have just heard his first game is actually at Southampton, I believe, on Wednesday, and I hope the Southampton fans cheer his name."

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