Clattenburg row: Now Chelsea in dock over post match brawl

Oct 30, 2012
Bill Mann

Referee accused of 'inappropriate language', as he files report about post-match fracas

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THERE was a 'pub brawl' in the bowels of Stamford Bridge on Sunday night following Chelsea's fiery 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, it is claimed. At the centre of the set-to was referee Mark Clattenburg, accused by Chelsea in the aftermath of the match of using "inappropriate language" to two of their players.

Now the spotlight  turned on the behaviour of the Chelsea staff – and not just the players. The Daily Mirror carries serious allegations that, if proven, could have devastating repercussions for the club still trying to remove the stain caused by John Terry's racial abuse of QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

According to the Mirror - and other papers - at 6.05pm, just minutes after Sunday's final whistle, a Chelsea delegation burst into the officials' dressing room. The delegation allegedly comprised Blues chief executive Ron Gourlay, manager Roberto Di Matteo, his assistant Eddie Newton, and midfielder John Obi Mikel.

Apparently they were demanding to know if Clattenburg had called Mikel a "monkey" and Juan Mata a "Spanish twat". The Mirror reports that "matters quickly became heated with Mikel seen and heard screaming in the direction of Clattenburg". There was also the sound of banging and at some point, according to the paper, the words "I'm gonna fucking break your legs" were heard.

It's also alleged that John Terry, who watched the game from the stand because of his ban, appeared on the scene "to join the melee".

Security staff soon intervened and according to an eye-witness: "It was like a fight had started in a pub and all the bouncers were rushing in to deal with it."

It's claimed the security staff ushered everyone from the dressing room except Di Matteo, leaving the Chelsea manager alone with Clattenburg and his two assistants, Simon Long and Michael McDonough. A few minutes later Di Matteo left the room "drenched in sweat". He subsequently gave a press conference in which he was highly critical of Clattenburg, although he made no mention of the dressing room confrontation.

An hour after Di Matteo's press conference Chelsea confirmed they were lodging a complaint against Clattenburg for "inappropriate language" towards Mikel and Mata. Meanwhile the referee has filed an "extraordinary incident report", in which the Mirror says he lists "an explosive time-line of events". Extraordinary incident reports are filed by referees following incidents that fall outside their remit and which they believe should be dealt with by the Football Association.

The FA is clearly going to have its hands full as it tries to clear up the damage following the stormy events at the Bridge. The Mirror says at least three Chelsea players (one of whom is believed to be the Brazilian Ramires) are ready to give the FA's disciplinary committee sworn statements. They will also have to interview players, match officials and stadium staff. It could be a long process, one that deals a further blow to the global image of the Premier League.  

The Sun says that the FA is desperate to deal with the matter "as a matter of urgency" after it took them nearly a year to punish Terry. The paper adds that the Metropolitan Police are now investigating the fracas following a complaint from the Association of Black Lawyers. Apparently they have reported a "racially-aggravated offence" committed against Mikel and Mata.  "Police chiefs will now have to decide whether a criminal offence was committed by Clattenburg," says the Sun.

But Henry Winter, writing in the The Daily Telegraph, says that many of Clattenburg's fellow referees believe the charges against him are trumped up. "Mark said nothing,'' according to one of his peers.

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