Owen Gibson at the Guardian has a simple FAQ up on the Mark Clattenburg ‘no action’ decision from the Football Association. The final question, on whether Ramires accept that the evidence was overwhelmingly contradictory to his claims that Clattenburg called Jon Obi Mikel “You monkey,” might leave a little bit of a bad taste:
Does Ramires accept he was wrong?
No. The player continues to remain convinced that he heard the words in his witness statement.
Some today have called for censure for Chelsea over their accusation, including former Premier League referee Graham Poll. He wrote today on the Daily Mail:
Chelsea should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute, wasting FA time and potentially face a private prosecution from Mark Clattenburg for defamation of character.
There has been little or no thought as to the damage this has done to the referee and his reputation – as Sir Alex Ferguson asserted: ‘It’s a problem for Mark and it is unfortunate. ‘Stigma does tend to stick and that is the real unfortunate part.’
That shouldn’t be necessary. If Ramires believed he heard what he heard with conviction and “in good faith” as the FA reported, he had a responsibility to report it, and Chelsea had a responsibility to act. In the end, Mark Clattenburg was exonerated. His reputation has only been sullied among the same clan of morons would attack Clattenburg for any and all perceived weaknesses. Now they now have one more.
Clattenburg himself will not seek any compensation from Chelsea nor take any further action against the club. This despite the fact that he acknowledged, “To know you were innocent of something but there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.” His union however, the referees association Prospect, is planning to seek out an apology and damages. Ramires may believe he heard what he heard, but in light of the evidence, Chelsea might consider an apology to him for distress.
Players must feel free in future to come forward if they feel they are the victims of racial abuse. But neither should there be a precedent set for spurious claims made to settle scores. This process should not have taken as long as it did with the paltry evidence against him, but it did, in large part because of the involvement of Scotland Yard who required time to investigate. With the laws on the books over racial abuse, they had no choice. Clattenburg’s name may have been momentarily dragged through the mud, but that’s the cost of due process.