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Police drop probe into referee at center of racism storm

Chelsea's John Obi Mikel talks with Mark Clattenburg during October's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester United

Story highlights

  • Police drop their investigation into Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg
  • The official was the subject of a complaint from Chelsea back in October
  • Club allege he made inappropriate comments to their player John Obi Mikel
  • Society of Black Lawyers referred the complaint to the Metropolitan police

London police have dropped an investigation into Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg after he was accused of using inappropriate language towards a footballer from Chelsea.

The official was the subject of a complaint to the Football Association (FA) from Chelsea after their 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in October but vehemently denies their claims.

The club claimed Clattenburg used "inappropriate language," thought to be of a racist nature, during an exchange with their Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel.

Subsequently, the Society of Black Lawyers made a complaint to the Metropolitan police, who now say the probe has been shelved due to a lack of evidence.

Read: Chelsea lodge Clattenburg complaint

A statement read: "An investigation was launched into alleged comments made during a football match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC at Stamford Bridge on 28 October 2012.

    "This follows on from a complaint received by the Metropolitan Police Service on 29 October. Enquires were made and no victims have come forward. The matter will remain as a recorded incident.

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    "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 enquiries will if appropriate be made."

    Clattenburg has not officiated a match since Chelsea filed their report with the FA, and the 37-year-old looks set to be kept out of the firing line until their investigation is completed.

    That could be as early as Wednesday, as the English game's governing body strives to prevent the issue dragging on as other racism cases that have dogged soccer of late.

    Chelsea captain John Terry has only recently completed a four match ban for using racist language during a Premier League game with Queens Park Rangers in October 2011.

    Read: Police to investigate ref in Chelsea case

    The FA could only reach their own verdict after Terry's case had been heard in a criminal court and in July the former England captain was found not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, brother of Manchester United defender Rio.

    Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck rejected criticism of the club on Tuesday after they were labeled hypocritical for their handling of the Clattenburg and Terry situations.

    He told the London Evening Standard newspaper: "Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various 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 had leaked out, we would've really been crucified. The press seem to juxtapose 'our support' of John Terry and what's going on here and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical. We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this."

    Last season Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's French defender Patrice Evra.

    Recently, a number of black players refused to wear T-shirts promoting an anti-racism campaign in protest at a perceived lack of action about the problem.

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