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Nov 22, 2012

Clattenburg won't face FA action

Former Liverpool midfielder criticises they way in referee Mark Clattenburg was treated after he was accused of making racist remarks.

The Football Association has announced referee Mark Clattenburg will not face disciplinary action over a complaint of the use of inappropriate language directed towards Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

• Referee conversations to be recorded

The FA decided there is "no case to answer'' over an allegation the referee said "shut up you monkey'' to Mikel during Chelsea's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United. An FA statement also said the complaint by Mikel's team-mate Ramires was "made in good faith''.

Independent QC David Waters ruled Ramires' claim was not supported by any other evidence and disputed by the other match officials. An FA statement added: "Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg.

"Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.''

Chelsea said in a statement that they accept the decision and "welcome the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter".

Clattenburg spoke of his relief and said the last few weeks had been "the most stressful of his life''. He said: "I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions.

"I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.

"To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.

"Racism has no place in football and this experience should not discourage those to speak out if they genuinely believe they are a victim of abuse. However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.

"I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.''

Mikel, meanwhile, has been charged for an alleged use of threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or around the match officials' changing room following his side's game with Manchester United on October 28.

An FA statement said: "It is alleged that in or around the Match Officials' changing room at the end of the fixture, Mikel used threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour. The player has until Friday 30 November 2012 to respond to the charge.''

Chelsea said "the player does not deny the charge, (but) he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances".

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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