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SBD Global/October 30, 2012/International Football

FA Opens Investigation Into Official Racially Abusing Chelsea Players, Banned Indefinitely

The FA has begun an investigation into claims that a leading referee racially abused Chelsea player John Obi Mikel and a second player, "believed to be Juan Mata," according to Hughes & Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Mark Clattenburg has been accused of using "inappropriate language" by the European champions, which made an official complaint to the match delegate following Sunday's 3-2 defeat by ManU "in which the referee also controversially sent off Fernando Torres having already shown Branislav Ivanovic a red card." The FA said in a statement: "The FA has begun an investigation relating to allegations made following Sunday’s fixture at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United." In response, Professional Game Match Officials, the refereeing body, has "decided to withdraw Clattenburg from the firing line and he will not officiate a game this coming weekend." PGMO said in a statement, "Professional Game Match Officials believe that, with any football match, the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself." Clattenburg, along with PGMO, "has vowed to cooperate with the investigation" (LONDON TIMES, 10/29). In London, Neil Ashton noted Clattenburg has referred to an "extraordinary incident" in his match report from Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge. The FA is "set to review video evidence" after launching its investigation. The FA and EPL "could ask Sky TV for footage from the 20 camera angles used for the big live matches to help confirm" whether Clattenburg made an inappropriate or racially aggravated comment. Premier League refs wear microphones, which means evidence from officials Michael McDonough, Simon Long and Michael Jones "may prove crucial" (DAILY MAIL, 10/29).
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