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Chelsea 'regret' over ref claims

Chelsea have expressed "regret" over the initial statement that alleged referee Mark Clattenburg had racially abused midfielder John Obi Mikel, and the subsequent impact on him and his family. Clattenburg was cleared by The FA of any wrongdoing.

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Clattenburg: I hope no referee has to go through this in the future

I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions. I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.

To know you were innocent of something 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. However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.

I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.

– MARK Clattenburg

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