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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Chelsea defend Clattenburg complaint

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has defended the club's decision to report referee Mark Clattenburg to the FA for allegedly using "inappropriate language" towards John Obi Mikel.

Buck claimed the London club, who reported Clattenburg after the controversial 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in October, would have been "crucified" had they not taken action. Some Blues players are understood to have said that a racist term was used.

Clattenburg has not officiated since that game, and was again omitted from the list of Premier League referees for the forthcoming weekend's fixtures.

Buck said he felt the reaction to Chelsea's decision to report the official had been "unfair".

Some accused the club of hypocrisy after they stood by captain John Terry, who was found guilty of racial abuse and banned for four games by the FA, and bitterness after the dramatic United defeat.

"The reaction has been very unfair," Buck told the Evening Standard. "We weren't interested in any confrontation with the referee or anybody else, had no thoughts of revenge on the referee.

"He made two obvious mistakes [sending Fernando Torres off and allowing Javier Hernandez's offside winner] which changed the tide.

"I felt we had the moral high ground, so I didn't really feel that bad about the defeat or have that feeling in my stomach. I thought we'd be treated very kindly in the newspapers next day."

Buck insisted Chelsea were duty-bound to call for the incident to be investigated, and that linking the claims to the John Terry situation was unfair.

"The press seem to juxtapose 'our support' of John Terry and what's going on here and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical," he said.

"We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this. From our perspective, the latest situation was pretty straightforward.

"We have an obligation to report what may be misconduct. We did that, in good faith and not maliciously.

"Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players: 'Look, it's not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider.' If that had leaked out, we would have really been crucified."