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Premier League ref accused of racial insult

ACCUSED: Mikel is understood to be one player who complained about Clattenburg's language

ANOTHER WEEKEND, another racism scandal. After a heated clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, the west London club, which lost 2-3, has acted on allegations made by two of its players that referee Mark Clattenburg directed “inappropriate language” at them.

The Premier League pacesetters have made a formal complaint to the FA, part of the allegations is understood to involve racially pejorative language.

The two footballers who complained have not yet been officially named, however, sources indicate they are Nigerian international Jon Obi Mikel, and Spanish playmaker Juan Mata. The former is understood to have visited Durham-based Clattenburg in his changing room after the game ended.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “We have a lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regards to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents during today's [October 28] match.

“The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association. We will make no further comment at this time.”

Clattenburg, 37, has not as of yet released a statement or commented on the allegations.

On his behalf, the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) issued a statement: “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. No further comment will be made until matter has been properly investigated.”

Di Matteo was livid with Clattenburg’s sporting decisions, particularly feeling aggrieved by Fernando Torres’ second yellow card for diving and Javier Hernández's winner, which video replays showed was offside.

At the post-game conference, the Italian said: “Surely, when he's [Clattenburg] going to watch the images he's going to realise that he made big mistakes.

“We are massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong. It always seems to be in favour of the opposition. That's a massive disadvantage for us.

“I thought at 2-2, we looked like the team that were probably going to win the game. You don't want the referees to be a big influence in the game, you let the two teams play each other and play a good game, that's what everybody loves to watch”, he added.

Di Matteo did not refer to the nascent controversy of Clattenburg’s verbal interactions with his players.

These latest allegations have only snowballed onto what has been a year where accusations of racism in the game have blighted the sport, leading to several high-profile black players publicly questioning whether enough is being done to combat the issue.

One such player, Rio Ferdinand, attempted to draw a line under the protracted John Terry scandal by acknowledging and shaking the hand of Ashley Cole, who testified in court in support of Terry.

During the warm-up before the match, all Chelsea players wore the Kick It Out T-shirts. As did the United squad, except for winger Ashley Young.

Terry, watching on from the stands as he served the second of his four-match ban after being charged by the FA for racially abusing Ferdinand’s younger brother Anton, had an anti-racism badge pinned to his chest.

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