Metropolitan Police looking into the racism claims made by Chelsea on referee Mark Clatteburg have dropped their investigation on the allegations due to a lack of evidence and victims put forward by Chelsea since the claims were first made.
The defending European champions made the claims about Clattenburg following their 3-2 loss at home to Manchester United on the 28th of October, stating that the referee had used racist language towards John Obi Mikel and inappropriate language towards Juan Mata (per The Telegraph).
However, after looking into the claims for two weeks now, the police will drop their investigation after a lack of evidence was brought forward by Chelsea.
The Metropolitan Police said Tuesday night that they had dropped their investigation into allegations against Mark Clattenburg on the basis that "no victims had come forward" and there was "no evidence that any offense has been committed".
“Inquiries were made and no victims have come forward. The matter will remain as a recorded incident" [said the police].
"Without a victim and/or any evidence that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be investigated.
"If the situation changes and a victim and/or evidence to support an allegation of a crime comes to police attention, then further inquiries will, if appropriate, be made..."
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, however, has spoken out about the matter for the first time since the allegations were made, stating that his players were sure of what they heard the referee say and that the club will continue to stand behind Mikel.
We weren't interested in any confrontation with the referee or anybody else—had no thoughts of revenge on the referee.
Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the players, "look, it’s not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us—maybe you want to reconsider". If that leaked out, we would have been crucified.
Buck's comments were echoed by Chelsea chief executive, who stated that the club cannot walk away from what has happened.
Clattenburg has not officiated a match since the allegations, but with the investigation being dropped by police, could well resume his duties this week.
The real question, however, is as to what will come next—will Chelsea continue their claims of racism towards Mikel or will they drop the allegations? And if they do pursue either one of those avenues, what are the ramifications that this will have for the club, for the referee and for the league as whole?
Obviously, if Chelsea do pursue their claims and Clattenburg is found guilty of using racist language, then he would surely not be allowed to officiate ever again.
The referee would leave the game under a cloud of shame and hatred, with the league bound to do all it can to ensure that racism is eliminated from world football. The league would surely have to take a stand on Clattenburg to ensure that such a situation does not occur ever again.
However, what would happen if Chelsea dropped their claims or the claims were found to be without evidence—which is what we are heading towards—is a very interesting scenario indeed, and one that should also be taken just as seriously.
What the Blues are accusing Clattenburg of is a very serious incident, and one that will impact the game one way or another before all this is finished.
If these claims are not found to be true, then the club should receive some sort of punishment or reprimand for making false claims about this nature.
If they don't, it sets up a dangerous precedent for clubs to simply accuse other players, officials or anyone involved with the game without proper evidence, drag their name through public shame, scorn and humiliation—all for them to be found not guilty.
At one level, the damage has already been done whether they are found guilty or not, and the league must ensure that all claims have more than adequate evidence before they get dragged through the media and legal system like they have done already.
That cannot be allowed to happen, and Chelsea as a club must therefore face some sort of reprimand for making serious claims that turned out to be false.
Interestingly, I posed the question two weeks ago as to whether the allegations were true or not—sampling over 1,500 readers—and the response was essentially a 50-50 split as to Chelsea's claims being true or the claims being false.
Now, it seems, that the 50-50 split between true and false has swung further away from the West London club and back to the corner of the referee, who has claimed from the very beginning that he did not make the comments and has fully cooperated with police throughout.
If Clattenburg was found guilty, there would be serious consequences.
But if Clattenburg is found not guilty, then surely serious consequences must apply to those who brought spurious claims on the innocent official.
One thing's for certain—this one is nowhere near finished with yet.
What do you make of Chelsea's racism claims on Mark Clattenburg?
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