Chelsea vs Clattenburg: one of them must pay for race row

Juan Mata, Mark Clattenburg, Jon Obi Mikel

Latest allegations are 'too depressing for words' as football heads back to the gutter

LAST UPDATED AT 11:23 ON Tue 30 Oct 2012

THE MARK CLATTENBURG race row threatens to drag English football back into the gutter just as it was dusting itself off after the indignities heaped upon it by the John Terry affair, which took a year to resolve.

"Regardless of the outcome of the FA's investigation - whether or not Mikel's allegation against Clattenburg is proven, whether the abuse was genuine or something that was misheard - this is terrible for English football," writes Oliver Kay in The Times. "The idea, or even the mere allegation, that a referee could utter a racially abusive term is too depressing for words."

James Lawton in The Independent agrees. "If you have the energy, or the patience, or you still care enough, you might want to weep at this latest evidence of a game too rich for its own good locked into another bout of witless self-destruction."

The allegations take "the national game straight back to square one after all that carefully confected, if somewhat lacklustre, kissing and making up" after the fallout from the insults Terry hurled at Anton Ferdinand.

But Chelsea had little choice but to act once Obi Jon Mikel declared that Clattenburg had called him a "monkey", says Henry Winter in The Daily Telegraph.

"It is in nobody's interests for the sport's latest racial controversy to drag on as Chelsea managed with the John Terry affair. Inevitably there will be scepticism about Chelsea's motives... yet, in fairness, they must respond to any expressed grievances by their players.

"For all the widespread perception of Chelsea as a club without class off the pitch... any allegation of racism needs airing."

And whatever happened there will be payback argues Paul Hayward, also in the Telegraph. "If Chelsea have concocted these charges, they are the Kremlin of English football and should be vilified. If Clattenburg said anything racial or even nationality-based, he is finished."

Matthew Syed in The Times agrees. "The very idea of a top club concocting an allegation of such seriousness because of an elevated sense of injustice almost defies credulity," he says. "Then there is the most incredible possibility of all: that Clattenburg is guilty as accused. The consequences for Clattenburg would be obvious: he would never referee a football game again, and would leave with his reputation in tatters." · 

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Most English native speakers in the UK know that the phrase "monkeying around" is not a racial slur and applied to anyone messing around. Unfortunately I can see how it can be completely mis-interpreted and someone on the receiving end could be really upset about what they think it means.

There is no room for any racism, but we also need to recognise that we are living in an over-sensitised world and one in which real major crimes go unpunished and misunderstandings like this get more column inches than most appalling crimes.

It is all seems like a matter of words getting lost in translation. Obi did not hear anything and it was two other players whose command of English is as good as my Chinese who reported to him what they had heard heard. Surely unless their claim is collaborated by the 3 other officials, Chelsea has no case at all. On the other hand they have two other more serious cases to answer to: the verbal threats and violence by Obi himself and club officials inside the ref's dressing room after the match, and the injury to one of the ground officials by Chelsea supporters when the winning goal was scored. After all this and the JT case, if found guilty, i can see Chelsea being docked at least 10 points or even demoted to the Championship.

It will be Chelsea who will lose, because the 4 officials will collue to concoct a tissue of lies and the FA will do a whitewash job.

Is the ref's mic not turned on at all times? If not, it's a simple matter for him to state he said "monkeying around" or "monkey business" or some such thing and Chelsea will look silly at best. As for "Spanish tw*t" that will be an interesting one if proven. It's a terribly rude thing for a ref to say but is it racist? What if he'd called a player a "Scottish tw*t" or "Geordie tw*t"?

Now that's just dreaming.

"Stop being a monkey" is not a racist phrase. It means stop being an idiot. And if you are arguing with the referee after he has made his decision that is exactly what you are, an idiot, who deserves to be booked for dissent.

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