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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 17 January 2021

Referee chief calls for Chelsea apology

Alan Leighton believes the club should say sorry to Mark Clattenburg after he was cleared of racial abuse.

Clattenburg and Mikel during the match in question.
Clattenburg and Mikel during the match in question.
Image: Getty images

ALAN LEIGHTON OF the Professional Referees’ Association has called on Chelsea to apologise to exonerated official Mark Clattenburg.

Clattenburg had been accused by Chelsea of racially abusing John Obi Mikel in their match against Manchester United on 28 October.

The Football Association have now concluded their investigation into the incident, declaring Clattenburg had “no case to answer.”

“Mark’s delighted that his innocence has been proven after all this time,” Leighton told Sky Sports News. It was right that the FA considered fully and investigated fully the issues so that there was no doubt that he was innocent.

I think there are some lessons to be learnt – Mark is clearly very upset that his reputation has been dragged through the mud by the process. There was no need for Chelsea to make it publicly aware that this allegation had been made.

“What we now need to happen is Chelsea to accept the verdict, to fully apologise unreservedly to Mark for the actions that they’ve taken in damaging his career and to compensate him for that.

Meanwhile, former English Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher hailed Clattenburg for the way he has dealt with the whole affair.

Gallagher is confident “a line has been drawn in the sand”, and believes every referee will be “very, very happy” at the findings.

“I think what’s he’s done is kept himself to himself and carried on training,” Gallagher said.

“He’s been involved with the PGA, he’s kept his dignity but more importantly he’s kept a thoroughly professional outlook.”

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