Until any audio evidence is produced, lip-readers have their work cut out with the following clips.
Going with the precedent of innocent until proven guilty, despite Chelsea quickly tabled accusations that referee Mark Clattenburg verbally abused John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata, a review of the TV footage at the time of the incidents suggests that the Pensioners have their work cut out to make the career-threatening accusations stick.
For anyone who has been living under a rock for the past few days, following the Blues’ 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, Chelsea immediately issued serious complaints against ref Clattenburg for (1) racial abuse against John Obi Mikel, and (2) a xenophobic slur against Juan Mata.
The Mikel accusation, while more grotesque in it’s nature, seems a nigh-on impossible charge for Chelsea to prove in the current climate. To recap, the Mail has contextualised the alleged crime, printing:
Clattenburg booked [Mikel] for dissent in the 76th minute and it is at this moment that Ramires and Luiz allege they heard the midfielder being racially abused by a referee who is known for having a dismissive and patronising tone when he talks to players about their behaviour.
Amid completely-without-any-evidence internet chatter that Clattenburg called Mikel a ‘monkey’, slow motion video evidence failed to provide any water-tight evidence against Clattenburg.
Moreover, questions must be asked against reports in Tuesday’s press that Mikel was only informed of the racial assault after David Luiz and Ramires told him about it.
As seen during the TV footage at the time (and in the picture above), Luiz was several yards away from the scene when Mikel was booked, bringing into doubt how the bushy-haired defender could possibly have heard the referee’s alleged comments.
As to Ramires, while it is true that the Brazilian was in closer proximity to Clattenburg when he booked Mikel, one has to wonder how the second witness heard a racial slur when Mikel didn’t, particularly when TV footage failed to hint at the use of any such derogatory language.
Watch the Clattenburg v Mikel episode below in two videos.
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Onto the second allegation that Clattenburg called Juan Mata a “Spanish twat”, the incident in question is said to have arisen following the aftermath of Branislav Ivanovic’s dismissal.
TV footage shows how Mata confronted the referee following the red card, however once again the slow-mo replay failed to show that Clattenburg spouted any ill words to the Chelsea player.