The ramifications of Chelsea's racism allegations against referee Mark Clattenburg continue to roll on, with latest reports suggesting that Premier League referees are considering a boycott of future Chelsea matches to show their support of Clattenburg.
However, according to ex-referee Clive Wilkes, the allegations against Clattenburg have drawn the ire of several referees around the league—which could result in their boycotting matches in which Chelsea is a participant (per The Sun):
I keep in touch with a lot of the lads [referees], and there is strength of feeling about what is happening to Mark [Clattenburg].
I know a few referees who are even talking about boycotting Chelsea games because of this.
It's no exaggeration to say the refs in this country have never felt lower. They are so disillusioned. They feel vulnerable—that they are getting no backing. They want to speak out themselves but are too frightened.
They fear they will be sacked if they go public with their grievances.
The comments made by Wilkes come as another interesting twist in the saga, which has taken several interesting turns since the story first broke a week ago.
It seemed that the referee in question, Clattenburg, had made several racist and inappropriate comments towards Chelsea players John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata in their defeat to Manchester United last weekend in the Premier League—comments that would surely cost him his job as a league official if they were true.
He was subsequently stood down pending further notice, and it seemed that it would be revealed at some point that the allegations were indeed true.
However, several league managers—including Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson—spoke out against the manner in which the Blues had handled the allegations, stating that they shouldn't have made the matter as public as they had.
Daily Mirror reported that Chelsea players had threatened Clattenburg when they confronted the official after the match—both verbally and physically—and suddenly, what seemed like a straightforward matter, was now a complex and complicated issue.
Oh, and all of this had come from a club which recently lost its defender and captain John Terry to a four-week ban for using racist language towards Queens Park Rangers Anton Ferdinand last season in the English Premier League.
What is clear now is that the whole scenario—Chelsea, Clattenburg and all those who want to comment on it—has gone too far and must be resolved quickly for the benefit of the league and for the millions of fans who watch it around the world.
Referees boycotting matches is not at all a good representation of the game, and the dispute must be resolved one way or another before it gets to that stage.
It seems that this one is bound to get a lot murkier and uglier, and we can only hope that authorities get to the bottom of the matter sooner rather than later. For the sake of Clattenburg, for the sake of Chelsea, for the sake of the English Premier League.
This cannot linger around any longer than it needs to.
The game is simply too important.
What do you make of the Clattenburg allegations by Chelsea?
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