LONDON (AFP) –
London’s Metropolitan Police confirm they have received a complaint about allegedly racist comments made by a top flight referee during Sunday’s match between Chelsea and Manchester United.
Scotland Yard said in a statement that the complaint was made on Monday afternoon and was being considered, while officers had been in touch with the west London club about the claims against Mark Clattenburg.
“We will work in partnership with Chelsea Football Club and the Football Association in order to consider any allegation that is made in relation to the reported events,” the statement added.
Clattenburg is alleged to have used “inappropriate language”, reportedly of a racist nature, towards Chelsea’s Nigerian and Spanish players John Mikel Obi and Juan Mata at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The 37-year-old official, who has vowed to co-operate fully with any probe, has been stood down from matches for a week, pending an FA investigation.
The racism claims are the latest to hit the English Premier League, notably after Chelsea captain and former England skipper John Terry was cleared earlier this year in a criminal trial of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
Terry was later found guilty at an FA disciplinary hearing and banned for four matches. Racism is still a source of friction among some black players, who say that the game is still affected by it, despite efforts to stamp it out.
The head of the Society of Black Lawyers, Peter Herbert, on Monday said the organisation had written to the police to request an investigation into Clattenburg’s alleged comments.
“Our information is that racist remarks were directed at John Mikel Obi and at Juan Mata. If so, that is wholly unacceptable in any circumstances,” the letter stated.
“Although this matter may be investigated by the FA, it is appropriate that the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) independently see if a racially-aggravated offence has occurred.”