Chelsea have officially lodged a complaint over referee Mark Clattenburg in their recent loss in the English Premier League to Manchester United, though perhaps not for the reasons that many would expect the Blues to be complaining about.
The league leaders lost the match 3-2 after having both Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres sent off, and United's game-winning goal scored by Javier Hernandez did appear to be offside, but Chelsea's complaint about Clattenburg is reportedly about an entirely different topic—one that the Blues are becoming well versed in, it seems.
Chelsea have accused referee Mark Clattenburg of directing inappropriate language towards two of their players during Sunday's acrimonious 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, with one complaint understood to relate to a comment of alleged racial nature.
A formal complaint has been made to the Premier League's match delegate and will be forwarded to the Football Association, with the Professional Game Match Officials' Board—the body which represents referees—now awaiting the reports from both Clattenburg and the match delegate.
Chelsea are yet to reveal the identity of the players involved in the reported incident with the referee, though various news outlets are reporting that midfielder John Obi Mikel had a comment of racial nature directed towards him from Clattenburg (per The Guardian).
The other complaint is believed to not involve any racial elements, according to The Telegraph, but it does still reportedly involve inappropriate language.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has already commented via the club's official website that he felt the officiating was horrendous in the recent loss to Manchester United, but those statements were surrounding his refereeing decisions only.
The news could not come at a more tense time for the Premier League Association and indeed Chelsea, who are both battling racial problems of their own.
The Blues recently had defender John Terry suspended for four matches over racial comments directed towards Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last season—an action that has sparked a highly contested debate and actions across the league.
T-shirts for the Kick it Out campaign have been worn by many players throughout the competition in their quest to have racism eliminated from football.
But in light of the recent comments made by one of the league officials, it seems that the English Premier League still has a long way to go in that regard.
The Professionals Game Match Officials released a statement after the Blues formally lodged their complaint—stating that the matter would be investigated swiftly and with the utmost importance and seriousness. Per The Guardian:
[We] are aware of the allegations [on Clattenburg] and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness.
Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established. No further comment will be made until the matter has been properly investigated.
Not to speculate too far or make judgement on a matter that we don't yet know the outcome of, but if Clattenburg is found guilty of using racist language as a league official, the ramifications and consequences would be disastrous for the league and for world football.
Much has been said and written by the league on the appalling nature of Terry's actions towards Ferdinand, and to now be found out to be just as bad—all whilst taking the moral high ground—will reflect poorly on the Football Association and the officials within it.
Just where this all will go still remains to be seen.
But if you thought you'd heard the end of Chelsea, racist language and the English Premier League, you'd better think again.
This one looks set to be around for some time still.
What do you make of the entire Chelsea racism complaint?
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