Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughClattenburg in the clear - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Clattenburg in the clear - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Clattenburg in the clear

Referee Mark Clattenburg was found not guilty of racially abusing Chelsea midfielders John Obi Mikel and Ramires by the FA last week.

I breathed a sigh of relief after the verdict was announced; I don’t think football could take any more scandal following some of the allegations which have come to light this year. It’s despicable enough when a player is found guilty of racial abuse let alone a referee.

At the time of writing Clattenburg has turned down the opportunity to sue Chelsea over the allegations, a decision which I fail to understand.

Now I’m not suggesting that Chelsea players deliberately set out to defame Clattenburg and fabricated the alleged racial abuse. If that were the case the story of Chelsea FC, perhaps one of the most reviled clubs in English football, just gets worse.

As far as I’m concerned Chelsea players thought they heard something race related and reported it. End of. At least that is what I hope went on and nothing more sinister.

What makes it worse was that Clattenburg was unable to tell his side of the story and claim his innocence in the media. The incident happened four weeks ago and only now has he been allowed to speak out.

But even though the claims have been unfounded and Clattenburg is in the clear the stigma of the allegations will always precede him. I certainly can’t see him taking charge of a Chelsea game again.

Some individuals have clearly defamed him by labelling him a racist, and even though he has been found not guilty Clattenburg is lucky to have a career to go back to. The allegations could so easily have ruined that as well.

Chelsea can count themselves very lucky that Clattenburg has refused to take matters further. For a club who have been on the front and back pages for all the wrong reasons this season one more scandal would perhaps be too much to take.

Robert Lock