Mark Clattenburg, who was accused of racially abusing John Obi Mikel while officiating Chelsea-Manchester United match last month, has been cleared of all accusations by the Football Association (FA).
The FA ordered a probe after Chelsea lodged a complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg of using inappropriate comments against two of their players during their Premier League match against Manchester United that ended in a 2-3 defeat for the Blues.
The FA said it dismissed the accusations against the referee after reviewing the video footage and interviewing the players and match referees.
"Having considered all of the available evidence it was the opinion of David Waters QC, independent counsel, that the evidence of Ramires was not supported by any other evidence. Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg," said the FA.
"Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer. Equally The FA is satisfied that the allegation against Mark Clattenburg by Ramires was made in good faith. It is entirely possible for a witness to be genuinely mistaken and convincing in his belief," it added.
The FA went on to say that all players, who believe they have been either a subject or a witness to the discriminatory abuse, should report the matter immediately to the match officials on the day.
Ironically, John Obi Mikel, who was alleged to be a victim of racial abuse, has been charged for an incident at the room of the match officials after the game against Manchester United.
Some have argued that Chelsea accused Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing one of their players without concrete evidence, which could have been instigated by the disappointing defeat to arch rivals Manchester United.
"Chelsea Football Club accepts the Football Association's decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter," said a statement from the club.
"The club also notes the charge brought against John Mikel Obi. While the player does not deny the charge, he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances. With regards to the Mark Clattenburg decision, the club accepts the case is now concluded and notes the FA states the allegation was made in good faith," it added.
However, Clattenburg is not happy that his reputation was hurt by the false allegation against him.
"To know you were innocent 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. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside the game helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life," The Sun quoted him as saying.
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