Chelsea ‘regret’ handling of Clattenburg case

Posted on November 29, 2012

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On Tuesday 27th November, Chelsea Football Club released a statement which detailed their ‘regret’ over the handling of their accusations against referee, Mark Clattenburg. Whom Chelsea claimed had racially abused John Obi Mikel.

The clubs statement came on the back of the Football Association announcing that Clattenburg had no case to answer and was officially cleared of the charges on 22nd November. It was alleged that the Premier League referee had used racist language towards Chelsea midfielder Mikel, 25, in the game against Manchester United on 28th October.

Mark Clattenburg, John Obi Mikel and Ramires during the now infamous game between Chelsea and Manchester United

I cannot believe how poorly Chelsea have handled the whole situation surrounding the claims made against Mark Clattenburg. It has been a really torrid time for the game as the shadow of racism has loomed over English football on a level that has not been seen in the public eye for many years. There have been several high profile cases such as the most recent charges against John Terry for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra case not so long ago. As a Chelsea player was involved in the first case, one would have thought the club would take more caution with their recent allegations against Clattenburg.

However this was clearly not the case as several of the clubs statements have not only admitted ‘regret’ in the handling of the whole fiasco but have actually contradicted previous statements. Initially, Chelsea stated on 22nd November: “The club carried out a thorough investigation, led by outside legal counsel, using all information available to us.” However, the clubs most recent statement on 27th November included the following: “(Chelsea Football Club)…regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of Sunday 28th October…(and also)…regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family.” This really does pose the question; did Chelsea really seek the proper legal counsel from outside the club to support their allegations against Clattenburg?

I honestly struggle to fathom how Chelsea can show such disregard during this turbulent time for football? Not only that, their own talisman and club captain John Terry has been in the media and legal spot light after being charged for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry’s complete lack of professionalism in the public eye is a completely different story, but I think it has surprised everyone just how poorly the club as a whole handled the most recent situation.

Chelsea were close to completely destroying Mark Clattenburg’s livelihood with their allegations and after admitting the poor handling of the case they have offered little more than a statement of ‘regret.’ I really think a serious apology is needed and compensation be paid to Mark Clattenburg for causing unnecessary stress and loss of earnings over the period.

Hopefully, the rest of the football community can learn from this outrageous chain of events and make sure that nothing similar happens in the future. Although, The FA have agreed that Chelsea made the complaint in ‘good faith,’ I think much more care was needed over Chelsea’s handling of the issue. Did they seek ‘expert’ legal advice before proceeding? Who exactly was consulted on the matter etc?

Finally, Clattenburg handled the case very well and with the upmost professionalism. I was glad to see that has been able to return to the football field straight away as he took charge of the Southampton Vs Norwich game last night. Mark Clattenburg’s full statement can be found on the BBC website.

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Posted in: Football