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Oct 29, 2012

Union to sit Mark Clattenburg

Former Manchester United defender, Mikael Silvestre, gives his reaction to United's dramatic 3-2 win at Chelsea.

Premier League ref Mark Clattenburg, who has been accused by Chelsea of using "inappropriate language" toward two of its players, will not officiate a match this weekend as the England Football Association announced it will launch an investigation into allegations the referee made racist comments during Manchester United's 3-2 win.

The Professional Game Match Officials union released a statement Monday, saying "that with any football match the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself."

"The FA has begun an investigation relating to allegations made following Sunday's fixture at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United (Sunday 28 October 2012). The FA will make no further comment at this time," read the statement on the FA website.

Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), encouraged the FA Monday to take swift action to learn the lessons of the last 12 months."

"This is extremely serious for the referee involved so that's why it's important that it is dealt with in the most thorough manner and as quickly, efficiently, and transparently as possible," he said

The referees' union pledged its "full support" Monday to Clattenburg after Chelsea accused him of directing racial slurs toward Mikel John Obi and Juan Mata.

"Prospect is committed to helping to eradicate racism in football and in society generally," the trade union, of which the referees' union is a member, said in a statement. "We will be making no further comment at this stage."

Mikel's agent and Chelsea did not comment Monday, but the club did confirm that it had decided against holding a press conference Tuesday to preview Wednesday night's Capital One Cup clash against United.

Chelsea's complaint against Clattenburg, 37, could hinge on the evidence of the assistant referees who would have heard every exchange, according to ex-referee Graham Poll.

"A referee's microphone is on open. Everything he says is heard by two assistants," Poll, who refereed 1,544 matches during his career and officiated at two World Cups, told BBC Radio 5 live. "So if Mark said something, the assistants would have heard it."

Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter said Clattenburg won't officiate a match again if the charges are proven true.

"I'm not saying referees should do it, but there seems to be one law for one set of people and one law for another, but this inference that racial language has been used is very, very serious," Winter said.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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