Prospect referees’ union is demanding that Chelsea apologize and compensate former suspended referee Mark Clattenburg after being cleared of making a racist remark.
The 37-year-old Clattenburg was accused by the Blues of using “inappropriate language” towards their midfielder John Obi Mikel. Clattenburg was cleared by the Football Association on Thursday and is looking forward to moving ahead with his career.
“I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions,” Clattenburg told BBC Sport.
Alan Leighton, Prospect chief, called for “a full and unreserved apology and compensation for loss of earnings, damage to reputation and stress.”
Leighton, the national secretary of the union, also requested for Chelsea to make a considerable donation to anti-discrimination bodies Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card.
Responding to the decision reached by the FA, a Chelsea statement said: “Chelsea Football Club accepts the Football Association’s decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact that the FA recognizes the club and players were correct in reporting the matter.”
Chelsea has accepted to the decision in “good faith”, but did not directly issue an apology to Clattenburg.
Chelsea’s midfielder Ramires was one of the key pieces of evidence in the allegation against Clattenburg. When interviewed, he told investigators that his initial reaction was to seek confirmation from Mikel as to what Clattenburg had said.
Mikel happened to be in a discussion with Clattenburg at the time of the incident, who was much closer to the referee than Ramires, but did not hear what was alleged to have been said.
The 25-year-old Mikel has now been charged by the FA with misconduct for his involvement in an incident in the referee’s room after the October match against Manchester United.
Leighton was critical of Chelsea for allowing this to go public, but believes that they had every right to investigate the claim.
“The charge was based on the flimsiest evidence that should never have to this stage,” he told BBC Sport. “Rather the evidence consisted of just one statement and that is why they shouldn’t have gone public.”
David Elleray, chair of the FA’s referees committee, commended Clattenburg’s handling of the accusation against him and welcomed the decision to clear him.
“I wish to express my admiration for the professional manner in which Mark and his colleagues have conducted themselves during this very difficult time,” Elleray said.
Clattenburg has maintained his innocence for the beginning and hopes that none of his other colleagues have to endure what he has had to go through for the past couple of weeks.
“I know first hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation,” he said. “I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.”