Surprise, confusion, bewilderment are all words that came up when Chelsea accused Mark Clattenburg of making inappropriate comments to two players during the Premier League defeat against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. The police and the FA have now brushed off the comments but Clattenburg will find it difficult to shake off the incident.
He has missed four weeks of Premier League football and will be itching to get back into the referee’s kit and take charge of the game but he is going to carry this baggage around with him for the rest of his career, regardless of the fact he didn’t actually do anything wrong.
Football fans can sometimes be very fickle which means Clattenburg is going to have to endure verbal abuse and scrutiny way beyond what referees are used to. He will be a target for fans at every single game he referees and as soon as he gives a couple of decision against a side, the fans will be on him.
The impact this has is it could well put him off from being a Premier League ref because he will be the subject of abuse after he’s been cleared and while he’s simply trying to do his job. Referees are verbally abused anywhere they go anyway but this story now means that could go to an entire different level.
He has a few options in the near future. One is to carry on and just try to bear the burden of this verbal abuse which he is certain to get, another is to referee and then gracefully step away if it all gets too much and the other option is to simply turn his back on football for the way he has been treated by one of the biggest clubs in the world.
The latter of these three options could become a very strong possibility if he doesn’t receive the apology from Chelsea that referees union Prospect is asking for. No one knows what was said and took place during the FA and police investigations but it seems Chelsea’ claims had no basis at all which means an apology is the very least they can produce, not to mention the tax payer money which has been wasted on the whole issue.
Very few would blame him if he wanted to step away from the industry of football but it is such a shame that one of the best referees around has now had his reputation tarnished although he has been cleared of any wrong doing. It’s something he will have to bear for as long as he’s wearing the black shirt.
image: © edwin11