English soccer’s governing Football Association (FA) announced on Thursday it would take no action against referee Mark Clattenburg over allegations that he used a racist remark towards Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel.
The FA said there was “no case to answer” over allegations Clattenburg said “shut up, you monkey” to the Nigeria midfielder during Chelsea’s 3-2 Premier League defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Oct. 28.
However, an FA statement said the complaint by Mikel’s Brazilian teammate Ramires had been made in good faith.
However, the FA did charge Mikel for a misconduct offence alleged to have taken place “in or around” the officials’ changing room following the match.
Meanwhile, Clattenburg, who has not officiated in a major fixture since Chelsea made their complaint public, expressed his relief at the outcome.
“I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions,” he said. “The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.”
“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,” Clattenburg said.
“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,” he added.
Chelsea, in a statement, “accepted” the decision regarding Clattenburg and welcomed the FA saying that “the club and players were correct in reporting the matter.”
European champions Chelsea said that while Mikel “did not deny” the charge against him, he would request a personal hearing to explain the “mitigating circumstances” involved.
Meanwhile, the FA said the independent lawyer reviewing the case on their behalf had concluded the “evidence of Ramires was not supported by any other evidence” and “contradicted by other witnesses” and that it “does not believe there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer.”
In response to the incident, English top-flight referees head Mike Riley said they would look to follow rugby union’s example in recording comments made by officials on their communications system.
Last week British police dropped their own separate enquiry into Clattenburg’s conduct.