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Ref in racism row cleared

Mark Clattenberg, the referee at the centre of racism allegations against John Obi Mikel of Chelsea, has been cleared of all charges by the FA. The Metropolitan Police in London decided during the last week not to pursue their investigation either, because of a lack of evidence.

The issue arose during the Chelsea v Manchester United game at Stamford Bridge in London on Sunday 4 November this year when John Obi Mikel, together with team mates Juan Mata and Ramires reported that “inappropriate language/words” were used by the referee towards John Obi Mikel.

This has ended a four-week nightmare for Mr Clattenberg, who always protested his innocence.

One has to ask – if the police could find no evidence, where did the FA and Chelsea, who said they were conducting their own investigation, think they would find evidence?

So now my questions are as follows:

  • * Was the referee being hung out to dry by the authorities?
  • * Are there forces within football who are trying to tarnish the name of refereeing?
  • * Was it in some way a chance to get back at the powers-that-be in the FA by Chelsea FC because of the John Terry incident?
  • * Are referees not entitled to due process the same as everyone else?

As you can see, plenty of questions. Will we get answers? Don’t hold your breath.

With all of the above, where does that leave the Fifa “RESPECT” programme? You know, the one where all the players shake hands with each other and the referee before the game?

I’ve said it many times before. This shaking hands stuff is a waste of time and if ever there was an example of blatant hypocrisy then here you have it.

  • * Where’s the fair play?
  • * Where’s the respect?
  • * Where’s the integrity and honour when players can deliberately conspire to bring a man’s career to an end without so much as an apology?

If the shoe was on the other foot there would be such an outcry and Mark Clattenberg would have been finished as a referee and probably would have ended up in a court of law with a criminal charge hanging over him.

More questions:

  • * What will happen now to John Obi Mikel?
  • * What will happen to Chelsea FC who, by their support for their player, conspired to heap misery on the unfortunate referee?
  • * Was it not enough that Juan Mata and Ramires withdrew their support for their colleague for Chelsea to drop this ridiculous and outrageous charge?

I hope the refereeing authorities take this case to the highest level. An example needs to be made of the perpetrators to ensure that this never happens again.

Mark Clattenberg has his reputation restored and not before time. He handled the whole issue with dignity and honour. A lot more than can be said for the overpaid, big headed, spoiled brats who earn thousands of pounds per week and think nothing of destroying the reputation and good name of a man trying to do his job.

Nothing less than a public apology and substantial damages will do in this case. If Mr Clattenberg can find a way to charge John Obi Mikel, Chelsea Football Club, and the Football Association with defamation of character, slander and anything else he can think of, then he should do it and let it be known that referees are not there to be whipping boys for thugs masquerading as soccer players, venting their anger at authority.

We do our job to the best of our ability for a fraction of the pay that these people earn and we are happy to do it.

Please, please referees – stay away from players, managers, coaches and club officials. Just do your job and that way you’ll have the respect you deserve and are entitled to.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so please keep them coming.

Happy Whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney

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