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Chelsea vs Clattenburg - A quick solution is required

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 28: Referee Mark Clattenburg puts his red card away after sending off Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28, 2012 in London, England.

It has been a difficult and rather embarrassing time for the Football Association because of all the recent racism rows lately. Whether it is Luis Suarez, John Terry or Danny Rose. And in addition to these for the first time we are seeing a case where a referee is charged for using racist language towards a player. Agonizing as it is for FA to handle one case after another, this one would rather have to be treated in a quicker manner.

Chelsea have accused Clattenburg of calling Mikel a “monkey” and Juan Mata a “Spanish tw*t”. It has been a sort of off the field tit for tat to Clattenburg from Chelsea in reply to Clattenburg’s dubious decisions that cost Chelsea the match against Manchester United. Chelsea have also declared they have three players who are willing to help in this case with their testimonials. And they have also pointed out that Mikel along with Di Matteo and Ron Gourlay went to the referees’ room after the match to demand an apology from Clattenburg.

All these exposures of the accusations by Chelsea have created a mess of the matter in my opinion. Especially when it is now clear that Chelsea didn’t have enough proof to support their claim. Their decision to go public with the details in the first statement seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the United match decisions. What more embarrassing is that in their second club statement (based on the result of Chelsea’s private investigation) is less specific then the first one and is publicly proving what I mentioned above. It will honestly be an uphill task for Chelsea to finish what they have started in favor of the club’s image here.

The allegations have been made against a ref who is popular in his community for his work both on and off the field. Clattenburg has been hailed among the top referees in England. He officiated this year’s Olympic final at Wembley and is a candidate for the 2014 World Cup. Both of these are not only personal achievements for Clattenburg but a boost for FA and other English refs too. Even off the field he has been widely appreciated for his efforts to raise funds for a cancer charity by teaming up with Mark Halsey to complete the Great North Run this year.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 28: Referee Mark Clattenburg gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28, 2012 in London, England.

What more difficult for Chelsea here is the perception among the refereeing world that Chelsea is a club that have already caused enough damage to the officials. It is difficult to overlook Chelsea’s role in the early retirement of Tom Hennig Ovrebo and Andres Frisk. While these two also “did a Clattenburg” with Chelsea and their decisions had a terrible affect on the club, a lot of referees would not consider it the official’s fault fully and would sympathize with him for losing the job. The man who pushed this complaint to FA – Ron Gourlay – has himself not been too popular, even among his own Club’s supporters who have questioned his leadership of the club. This fact is well known even within the FA and football world.

Everything is on the mic in this case. All the assistant referees along with the fourth official have heard what has been said by Clattenburg and if they decide to support him it will be unlikely Clatterburg will be charged, a major blow for Chelsea who are still recovering from the John Terry row. What could be more damaging is that FA and/or the referee association might press counter charges against Chelsea for coming up with allegations without enough proof and if the team. The playing 11 and the manager are affected by this and Chelsea’s performances will be hampered, which is the worst case for any club.

Whether Chelsea win this case or not, this incident is not good for brand Chelsea which has just started to grow in a way it did not expect thanks to the UCL win. The manner in which Chelsea have handled the case is not something that has helped their image. The credibility of Ron Gourlay yet again is questioned and off the field, Chelsea are becoming more and more infamous for their race issue sagas. As a loyal Chelsea supporter all I can hope is that there is an amicable settlement off the court in this case between all the parties. A club can only handle so much if it is trying to go global to increase it’s fan base in a world full of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool supporters.

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