Mark Clattenburg given all-clear by FA

Shaun Botterill

The FA has opted not to pursue charges against Mark Clattenburg after allegations of racial abuse. After the 3-2 home loss against Manchester United, Chelsea had made a formal complaint to English football's governing body after claims of inappropriate language directed to John Obi Mikel, and the case had dragged on for several weeks while evidence was gathered.

Ultimately, the case hinged on the testimony of Ramires, who is reported to have believed that a racial slur was used by Clattenburg during the match. The FA found that his claims were contradicted by both the match officials and other Chelsea players, and therefore that the case did not merit charging the referee. The media's been telling us to expect a result like this for some time, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise.

This is a good result. Mark Clattenburg might be a bad referee, but it would have been a very, very bad thing for football had he been found guilty of racial abuse. I'm very thankful he's been cleared, and although some Chelsea supporters might have wanted vindication for the abuse the club received from the media in the wake of the complaint, that doesn't really mean anyone should have been hoping that the referee was genuinely racist.

The FA's statement provides that vindication, incidentally:

Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.

Equally The FA is satisfied that the allegation against Mark Clattenburg by Ramires was made in good faith. It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief.

The FA receives and investigates numerous allegations of misconduct over the course of a season. All allegations are properly investigated. It is not uncommon for investigations to lead to no disciplinary charge being brought.

The FA encourages all players who believe they have been either subject, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report the matter immediately to the match officials on the day. Furthermore, all Participants are advised to report any such alleged misconduct to The FA. In this case, the player and club were correct in reporting the matter to The FA and it was appropriate and proper for such an allegation to be thoroughly investigated.

Chelsea acted appropriately. Mark Clattenburg acted appropriately. The FA acted appropriately. This is as close to a happy ending as we could have hoped for. Not that it'll stop the club being attacked in the media, of course, but never mind them.

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