Clattenburg Saga:Justice Must Be Done Quickly


dosage geneva;”>The moment just after lunchtime yesterday when it was announced the Met Police would be launching an investigation into Chelsea’s allegations of “inappropriate language” used by referee Mark Clattenburg to John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

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remedy geneva;”>Should the Met decide a case can be made for racial abuse then it will be handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service and we are off down the long, winding road that saw the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga drag on for an interminable 11 months.

Football needs that like a hole in the head.

The FA concede that if there are specific requests from the police and CPS for them to delay their own inquiry until any possible court case is dealt with — as was the scenario with Terry — then they will have to consider it.

Yes, justice has to be seen to be done.

But, and this should not be construed as “turning a blind eye to racism”, you hope there may have been some crossed wires somewhere, something lost in translation, something misinterpreted by the Chelsea players involved so football does not have to go through the degrading pantomime that the Terry-Ferdinand Affair became.

Certainly, the landscape seemed to be changing yesterday and undermining Chelsea’s 100 per cent support of their players. First was the suggestion that Mikel himself heard NO racial slur.

That he only stormed into the referee’s room at the end of the game after having the accusations passed on to him by team-mates Ramires and David Luiz.

But yesterday Luiz was intimating that he was never close enough to either Mikel or Clattenburg to hear anything.

There is also a grey area about Ramires’ grasp of English, compounded by the fact Clattenburg talks with a Geordie brogue.

Further were the claims of Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu to a Spanish radio station that Mata — allegedly called a “Spanish t**t” by Clattenburg — did not hear anything, either.

Suddenly what Chelsea believe to be a water-tight case could be springing a few leaks.

Suddenly there is the possibility that it could all end with Clattenburg suing THEM for defamation of character, etc.

Throw in yesterday’s report claiming neither of Sunday’s two miked-up assistant referees nor fourth official Michael Jones had heard anything of a racial nature and we are at a stand-off.

And that the Met — and the FA — will have to decide if they believe the players or Clattenburg and his match officials.

As in the case of the FA’s handling of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row, it could come down to a decision being made on judgment of character.

On the subject of who you believe, former referee Graham Poll said this week: “Players will support colleagues even when they know they are wrong out of a misguided sense of loyalty.

“But if the assistant referees heard Clattenburg make inappropriate comments, they will report it.”

Poll seems pretty certain on this, though others will make the point match officials might stick together for the very same reason.

For expediency, you would have liked the whole matter to be dealt with by the FA who, unlike a purely functional court of law convened just to adjudicate on the matter at hand, have huge experience and prior, first-hand knowledge of both the characters and organisations involved and the way players and match officials operate.

They, at least, can bring perspective to an inquiry rather than subjecting us all to the legal showboating and point- scoring — much of it smirking, smutty and juvenile — that so marred the Terry court case.

It also took the FA just seven weeks to rule on Suarez-Evra.

This is a difficult one for the Met. They were drawn into it by an approach from Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers and a human rights expert believed to have been behind the threatened breakaway black players’ union.

Obviously, there is no Society of White Lawyers because it would not be allowed.

Herbert also happens to be an independent member of the Met Police Service and a long-term critic — rightly — of what was always known as institutional racism in the Met.

So there has to be a full and proper investigation. Nothing can be swept under the carpet here. As for the FA, there is no hard and fast rule that says they cannot continue with their own investigation at the same time.

Nor that in the case of the CPS preparing charges that they are reduced, as in the Terry case, to bringing up the rear.

Whatever the rights or wrongs, let us just hope it is dealt with quickly.


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