Chelsea vs Man United: referee accused of using 'racial' slur
After ugly game turns even uglier, Chelsea lodge formal complaint against Mark Clattenburg
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3. An ugly yet enthralling match turned extraordinary late last night with Chelsea sensationally claiming that referee Mark Clattenburg used "inappropriate language" to two of their players during the club's first Premier League defeat of the season.
"We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate," said a Chelsea spokesman. "The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association."
According to the BBC, at least some of the language in question was "racial", while The Sun alleges that Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata are the two players involved. Apparently Mikel "chased the FIFA-accredited referee after the final whistle to confront him".
The referees' organisation PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials) issued a statement in light of the claims which said: "PGMO is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established."
The fact that Clattenburg, his two assistants and the fourth official wore microphones should help in getting to the bottom of the allegations but such claims are the last thing football needs after a year in which the sport's name has been dragged through the mud by the likes of Luis Suarez and John Terry, who was watching from the stands as he serves his four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Regardless of the unsubstantiated claims made by Chelsea, their manager was left fuming by the dismissal of Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres within the space of five crazy second-half minutes. Torres was given his second yellow card of the game for diving after a brush with Jonny Evans, the Manchester United defender, and Roberto Di Matteo was furious with the decision.
"I think it's quite obvious, in the eyes of everybody, that the second yellow for Fernando wasn't one, it was a foul for us, and he probably should have booked Evans," said the Chelsea manager. "Surely when he [Clattenburg] is going to watch the images he's going to realise that he made big mistakes. Fernando put the ball between Evans's legs and was through and was kicked on his shin and he went down."
Di Matteo also claimed United's winning goal was offside, prompting him to say: "It's a shame the game has to be decided in that manner. We are massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong. It always seems to be in favour of the opposition. It was a good game of football with two good teams and the officials ruined it."
Torres's sending off led to unseemly touchline spat between Di Matteo and his opposite number, Alex Ferguson, with the United manager saying later: "I think Jonny may have just caught him a little bit but you can either carry on running, which he could have done, but he chose to go down. He could have carried on and scored… but he did go down, that's the issue, and he has already been booked so it's his own fault. We have had some shocking decisions down here."
The two dismissals occurred at a time when the match was in the balance despite a red-hot start from the visitors. An own goal from David Luiz after four minutes and a Robin van Persie strike eight minutes later had the United fans going wild, but Chelsea clawed their way back into contention with goals from Juan Mata and Ramires either side of half-time.
Then came the double sending-off on the hour mark and the game tilted United's way when Javier Hernandez stole in for the winner on 75 minutes. The goal sparked further ugly scenes with objects thrown onto the pitch and a steward requiring hospital treatment. "We are investigating all the incidents around that time," said a Chelsea spokesman. "We are looking at reports of objects that may have been thrown or incidents around the steward taking a fall."
So ended another X-rated day in English football with United now just one point behind leaders Chelsea. The Premier League is not always pretty but it sure is pulsating.