Chelsea race row: are club guilty of a cover-up or slander?
The Blues can't win as police drop investigation into Clattenburg race allegations
CHELSEA have been accused of a "cover up" over the Mark Clattenburg racism row after the Metropolitan Police dropped their investigation into allegations that the referee racially abused a Blues player.
The club now finds itself in the strange situation of being accused by some of trying to sweep racism under the carpet, while others accuse them of making unfounded allegations of racial abuse.
The Society of Black Lawyers, which reported the allegations about Clattenburg to police in the first place, is up in arms that the club apparently refused to help the Met, even though it made a complaint to the FA over the behaviour of the official during the tempestuous 3-2 defeat to Manchester United last month.
After the game Chelsea accused Clattenburg of using "inappropriate language" and alleged he had called one of their players, Jon Obi Mikel, a "monkey". They later reported him to the FA. After seeing media reports of the incident the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) called in the police.
But on Tuesday Scotland Yard announced it was dropping its investigation. "Inquiries were made and no victims have come forward," it said, after conducting interviews with Clattenburg and Mikel.
Meanwhile, the FA are expected to come to a decision over whether to charge Clattenburg this week.
"It is understood Chelsea did not give evidence to the police because they felt the FA was the appropriate body to deal with the matter," reports the BBC. The club is also still smarting from the John Terry case, which took a year to reach a conclusion partly because of the police investigation which delayed the FA probe.
But the police announcement infuriated Peter Herbert, chair of the SBL. "It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up," he said. "It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet."
Herbert also accused the FA and Chelsea of having a "cosy" arrangement. "The FA does not have the tools to investigate race-hate crime," he continued. "We think that until the FA gets its house in order complaints like this should be investigated by the police."
The news came a day after Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said the club had no choice but to make a complaint to the FA over the Clattenburg allegation. He told the London Evening Standard that if the club had ignored the complaints of the players then it "would’ve really been crucified".
Daily Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges appears to have doubts about the entire case. He said he believed that Clattenburg was "wholly innocent, the victim of a grotesque slur on his character".
It has all become too confusing for some fans. "If we believe all the criticisms made of Chelsea recently, they're making false allegations of racism while simultaneously participating in football's grand cover-up of racism. Clearly we are the worst club in the history of all mankind," despaired blogger Graham MacAree on the We Ain't Got No History website.