Sir Alex Ferguson has bizarrely described Chelsea's complaint regarding potentially abusive language on the part of Mark Clattenburg on Sunday as 'unthinkable', highlighting the stigma of racism accusations that might stick to the referee whether or not the allegation that he racially abused John Obi Mikel proves true:
It is a problem for Mark and it is unfortunate. Stigma does tend to stick and that is the real unfortunate part. I have had my run-ins with referees over the years, as you well know.
I have been fined a few times but I just think that what has happened over the past week is unthinkable. It is an accusation which, even in the heat of the moment, should not be made. You cannot do that.
-Source: Sky Sports.
It's funny how Manchester United didn't seem particularly worried about the stigma attached to Luis Suarez over the Patrice Evra claims, nor did Ferguson spring to the defence of John Terry when the defender was accused. The manager also had no comment on his fans mocking Chelsea's complaint with a banner comparing Clattenburg to Terry -- one suspects that if this had been a different club, he might not have quite so much to say.