Chelsea have made a formal complaint about the language, reportedly racial, allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg to two of their players during the controversial 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United.
The dramatic development, which came after a stormy top of the table clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, will add fire to Wednesday evening when the two sides meet again in London in the League Cup.
Referee Mark Clattenburg (centre) shows the yellow card to Chelsea’s Fernando Torres during Sunday’s EPL match against Man Utd in London. Pic/Getty Images
“We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regard to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents during today’s match,” said a Chelsea statement.
Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), the body which represents Premier League referees, released a statement which read: “PGMO is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness.
“Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established.”
All four officials — the referee, his two assistants and the fourth official — wore microphones and ear pieces that allowed them to hear what each other was saying throughout the match.
But under FIFA guidelines, what is said between them is not recorded.
The complaint came after a highly-charged encounter in which Clattenburg dismissed two Chelsea players before Javier Hernandez secured the points for United with a goal that Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo insisted should have been ruled out for offside.
Goals from Spaniard Juan Mata and Brazilian Ramires had earlier hauled Chelsea back in the game after an own-goal from defender David Luiz and a Robin van Persie strike had put them 2-0 down early on.
Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres were sent off but it was the decision of Clattenburg to issue Torres a second yellow card for diving after a challenge by Jonny Evans that was the focus of much of Di Matteo’s frustration.
The Spanish international had been booked for an earlier challenge on Tom Cleverley before his 68th minute clash with Evans.
FA to investigate
British newspaper reports yesterday claimed the language used by Clattenburg included a racial insult directed towards Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel.
The other player involved is reported to be Spanish midfielder Juan Mata. The Football Association yesterday launched an investigation into the claims.