Carlisle backs Chelsea and FA
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has defended Chelsea and the FA following criticism from a campaigning group over the Mark Clattenburg affair.
Peter Herbert, chair of the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), has hit out at the organisations for not reporting allegations of racial abuse against top-flight referee Clattenburg to the police. The FA are investigating the matter after receiving a complaint from the club but neither body involved police. The SBL did make a complaint to the Metropolitan Police based on media reports of the alleged incident but officials at Scotland Yard have announced no action will be taken "because no victims had come forward".
Professional Footballers' Association chairman Carlisle, speaking at the Street League Academy in Manchester, said:
"I think it would have been better if it remained within the remit of Chelsea and the FA to put any subsequent case to the Met Police.
"It is an allegation they are currently investigating themselves.
"If we reported all incidents from third-party evidence, there would be many investigations the police would have to go through.
"We have to have faith Chelsea have reported the incidents in good faith and that the FA will deal with it accordingly, and report it to the police if necessary."
Clattenburg is alleged to have used a term which could be interpreted as racist to Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during the Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28. The FA is expected to announce the outcome of its investigation into Chelsea's complaint within 48 hours. Herbert said in a statement:
"It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA not to report these matters to the Metropolitan Police but to have them dealt with solely by the FA.
"The FA have a dreadful record of indifference on hate crime generally; failing to challenge anti-Semitism at Tottenham Hotspur and at other grounds; eventually finding John Terry made a racist remark but remarkably found him not to be a "racist"; whilst the derisory penalty of a four or eight-match ban [Luis Suarez] is believed to be a suitable punishment for what in any other industry would be summary dismissal for gross misconduct."
Carlisle is hopeful that the matter will be dealt with sufficiently whatever the outcome. He said:
"It is vital that, should Mark Clattenburg be found innocent by the FA and there is no charge for him to answer, as much as there was a furore around the allegation, there should be as much attention on his vindication.
"It is also equally vital that if he is subsequently charged and found guilty that the correct sanctions are imposed.
"We should not be sensationalist about this. We should focus on the mechanisms that are in place so that incidents that occur are dealt with accordingly to everybody's satisfaction."
Clattenburg, 37, returned to training with the top-flight Select Group of referees last weekend for the first time since Chelsea's complaint to the FA, but will not officiate this weekend. Neither the FA nor Chelsea would respond to the criticism, though it is understood the governing body rejects the claims made by the SBL. Chelsea also acted in the belief that the FA was the appropriate organisation to deal with their complaint rather than the police. Herbert said he would raise his views with the sports minister Hugh Robertson. The minister however said he could not issue orders to Chelsea to involve the police. Robertson said:
"They are welcome to approach me but I cannot instruct Chelsea to make criminal complaints, that is an argument he needs to have with Chelsea." He added:
"We had the Downing Street summit [on racism in football] earlier in the year and the FA are coming back to us before the end of the year and as soon as we have that response we will assess what to do next."
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