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Apr 23, 2013

Clattenburg to return to the Bridge

Mark Clattenburg will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was embroiled in a racism storm involving John Obi Mikel when he takes charge of Chelsea's game against Swansea next Sunday.

The appointment by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGOML) will be scrutinised after Chelsea players accused Clattenburg of using "inappropriate language" to Nigerian midfielder Mikel in the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United last year.

Those allegations sparked a lengthy investigation by Football Association chiefs that forced Clattenburg to miss four weeks of matches.

But after a lengthy investigation, the FA cleared Clattenburg of any wrongdoing and instead, opted to hand 26-year-old Mikel a three game ban and £60,000 fine for using threatening behaviour towards the match official.

And after the FA declared the complaints by Chelsea players, and subsequently club officials, were 'made in good faith', Stamford Bridge chiefs conceded they had handled the situation poorly and made attempts to reconcile with Clattenburg, making it clear they would welcome the official's appointment to their future games.

"The club regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of Sunday, 28 October," they said in a statement last November. "The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family."

And the PGOML has now been confirmed that the 38-year-old will take charge of the Blues next Premier League fixture.

Clattenburg has issued six red cards in the Premier League so far this season, including one to both Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres in the contentious game against United back in October.