LONDON: Chelsea have denied any hypocrisy in making a complaint against English referee Mark Clattenburg for inappropriate language while standing by club captain John Terry over his four-match ban for racial abuse.
Club chairman Bruce Buck told the Evening Standard newspaper yesterday that the two controversies must not be linked and said that ultimately the club had no choice but to report the referee.
“The press seem to juxtapose ‘our support’ of John Terry and what’s going on here and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical,” said the American.
“We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this,” he added. “From our perspective, the latest situation was pretty straightforward. We have an obligation to report what may be misconduct. We did that, in good faith and not maliciously.” European champions Chelsea lodged a complaint with the Football Association last month over language allegedly directed at Nigerian John Obi Mikel by Clattenburg during a Premier League defeat to Manchester United.
Clattenburg, one of the country’s top match officials who sent off two Chelsea players at Stamford Bridge, has not refereed for the last two weeks and will not be in action this weekend either.
The claims against the referee have been questioned publicly by several leading soccer figures, including Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
“The reaction has been very unfair,” said Buck. “We weren’t interested in any confrontation with the referee or anybody else, had no thoughts of revenge on the referee.” He said the decision to take action had come after a “great deal of anguish and after talking long and hard that evening about what we should do.”