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Clattenburg to face no action over Chelsea racism complaint

November 22, 2012 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
Chelsea's midfielder John Obi Mikel talks with referee Mark Clattenburg during the Premier League clash with Manchester United
Chelsea's midfielder John Obi Mikel talks with referee Mark Clattenburg during the Premier League clash with Manchester United
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Referee Mark Clattenburg to face no action from FA after complaint of racism by Chelsea
  • English club reported Clattenburg after exchange with Jon Obi Mikel during Man Utd match
  • FA say Ramires reported he had heard Clattenburg say "shut up you monkey" to Mikel
  • FA find there's no case to answer but also say Ramires made allegation in good faith

(CNN) -- Referee Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer in relation to a complaint from Chelsea that he used racist language towards one of their players during a Premier League game.

The English Football Association (FA) announced Thursday that their probe into the incident found Clattenburg did not say "shut up you monkey" to midfielder Jon Obi Mikel, as had been claimed by another of their players, Ramires.

And while the official has been completely exonerated, the FA insisted that Chelsea and Ramires, who is the only player to have heard the alleged comment, were right to report the matter.

The FA also confirmed Mikel has been charged for his conduct after the game against Manchester United on October 28 when he went into the officials' changing room to confront Clattenburg.

The referee, who has not taken charge of a game since the incident, said in a statement he hoped "no referee has to go through this in the future."

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A statement on the FA's website read: "Having considered all of the available evidence it was the opinion of David Waters QC, independent counsel, that the evidence of Ramires was not supported by any other evidence.

"Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg.

"Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, the FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.

"Equally the FA is satisfied that the allegation against Mark Clattenburg by Ramires was made in good faith. It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief."

The head of the Professional Game Match Officials, who organize England's referees, said they would be recording all communication between the referee and players in future.

Clattenburg added in a statement: "To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.

"Racism has no place in football and this experience should not discourage those to speak out if they genuinely believe they are a victim of abuse.

"However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.

"I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation."

Chelsea defended their position in a statement released on their official website.

"With regards to the Mark Clattenburg decision, the club accepts the case is now concluded and notes the FA states the allegation was made in good faith," it read.

"Chelsea FC has a duty of care, as do all employers, to act responsibly when such allegations are reported by employees.

"We did not take the decision to lodge a formal complaint with the FA lightly and followed the correct procedures and protocols throughout."

Chelsea confirmed that Mikel would accept the charge against him, but would request a personal hearing.

The Clattenburg decision came as interim manager Rafael Benitez took charge of Chelsea training for the first time after the sacking Wednesday of Roberto Di Matteo.

The 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, which saw Fernando Torres controversially sent off by Clattenburg, was the start of a poor run which ultimately cost Di Matteo his job with the European champions.

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