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Soccer referee Clattenburg cleared of racism charge

  • English referee Mark Clattenburg will not face any disciplinary action after European champions Chelsea alleged he used racist language towards a player, the Football Association (FA) announced on Thursday.

    Last month, Chelsea lodged a complaint with the FA over language believed to be directed at their Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel by Clattenburg during the home Premier League loss to Manchester United.

    "The FA has concluded its investigation into alleged misconduct by Mark Clattenburg during the match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC on Sunday 28 October 2012. No disciplinary action will follow against Mr Clattenburg," a statement by the FA read.

    In a separate statement, the FA said Mikel had been charged for breaching its rules.

    "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 behavior. The player has until Friday November 30, 2012 to respond to the charge."

    The FA added the evidence for the accusation against Clattenburg came from Mikel's Brazilian teammate Ramires.

    "The details of the allegation were that following one or the other of the red cards issued during the second half of the game, Ramires heard Mark Clattenburg say to John Obi Mikel, "Shut up you monkey". John Obi Mikel did not hear the alleged comment. Ramires, whose first language is not English, explained that his instinctive reaction was to seek confirmation from John Obi Mikel as to what the referee had said…John Obi Mikel, who was being spoken to by the referee, was much closer to the referee than Ramires and did not hear what it is suggested was said to him.”

    In another statement, Clattenburg, 37, said he was looking forward to putting the incident behind him and focusing on his refereeing.