The FA has handed out a three match ban and a £60,000 fine to Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel over false allegations made against referee Mark Clattenburg.
Mikel accused the referee of racial abuse during the Premier League match against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season. It later transpired that Clattenburg’s comments had been misinterpreted and the referee was cleared by the police and the FA.
The FA has also admitted that Mikel honestly believed that he had been racially abused during the match and did not invent an allegation against the Premier League official.
The statement from the FA read:
“At the time he threatened the referee, the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him.
But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer.”
Clattenburg has since accepted a statement as an apology from Chelsea and will not pursue legal action against the club which will allow all parties concerned to move forward.
The matter shows the zero tolerance policy which the FA takes over the issue of abuse and allegations of abuse and racial abuse in the English game. It is a clear warning to other clubs and players that they need to be 100% sure something has been said or has happened before they act.
The issue of racism in football is as relevant now as it ever has been with examples of abuse popping up all over Europe. This is a stance by the FA which shows that they will not stand for having their time wasted in any sense.
Chelsea now have to deal with having one of their best players suspended for crucial Premier League games because they were too hasty in backing their player before all of the facts had emerged.
Clattenburg has since returned to Premier League duties and Chelsea have said they have no problem with him refereeing a future match at Stamford Bridge.