More on the media portrayal of the Clattenburg affair

Clive Rose

On top of some incredible comments from managers on the Clattenburg affair, it's hard not to be incensed by some of the words being written by men on the sorry issue.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me the other day enforcing upon myself a new rule of not reading any Clattenburg-related opinion pieces. Unfortunately, I broke that rule to read what We Ain't Got No History favourite Paul Hayward had to say on the matter. I'm very grumpy that I did, because Mr Hayward only served to embellish the poor image I have of him as a football writer.

One thing we know of Abramovich is that like Vladimir Putin, his Kremlin ally, he has chosen not to care about image, reputation, transparency. He looks beyond these western preoccupations, to survival, to power. The way he sees it, probably, he has spent too much money on English football to care about its feelings.

That's the conclusion of 772 words in which Hayward suggests that Chelsea have filed the complaint against Clattenburg out of spite or as a reaction to the wide castigation they received in the wake of the John Terry affair. Hayward's article doesn't even seem to acknowledge that Chelsea's version of events - where John Obi Mikel was on the receiving end of racist abuse from a referee - rather choosing to prompt the notion that Chelsea's case revolves around an intangible sense of injustice.

Hayward's commentary starts and ends with a weird, awkward depiction of Roman Abramovich as the soulless dictator, with an anecdote in the introduction somehow acting as Hayward's prerogative to claim that Chelsea's actions are driven by the Russian's power-hungry dictatorship. Hayward's article stinks of the tribalistic spin that the media has placed on these racism affairs. as Graham elucidated upon this week. Hayward's latest piece is just one of many flawed articles written this week: one reporter calls the club 'bitterly aggrieved, another has set upon himself to remove the concept of innocent until proven guilty while another has gone as far as suggesting the club has manipulated this story into a bizarre act of revenge.

Returning to Hayward's article, it is unfortunately symptomatic of a wider outbreak in the media casting judgement upon the involved parties despite little development with those involved in the investigation itself. The tone of the article drips with cynicism over an affair where Chelsea has simply followed up on the claims of one of it's employees. Chelsea is being condemned by ghosts of a past that bear little relevance to a very serious issue.

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