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Chelsea pursue formal complaint over Clattenburg's behaviour

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Shaun Botterill

Despite much speculation in the media that they had no leg to stand on after bringing in an external legal team to investigate the situation, Chelsea have continued to press their claim against Mark Clattenburg over alleged abusive language from the referee during the 3-2 loss against Manchester United this weekend, turning their initial complaint into a more formal one:

Chelsea Football Club today lodged a formal complaint with The Football Association regarding inappropriate language directed at John Mikel Obi by referee Mark Clattenburg. This is a result of a thorough investigation carried out by the club, and led by outside legal counsel, of all information available to us including interviews with a number of players and staff.

Source: ChelseaFC.com.

The Blues have dropped their claim that Clattenburg had abused a second player (Juan Mata, if you believe the tabloids) thanks to insufficient evidence, but the Mikel abuse has been reported as being racial in nature and thus more severe. Chelsea apparently believe that they have enough evidence to make a serious case against the referee here.

At this point, I find it very difficult to believe that the club is merely being frivolous. This is big, and it's scary -- the implication that a match official could be malicious on top of generally incompetent is a very bitter pill to swallow, and I don't like it one bit. Let's hope the truth comes out one way or another.