Clattenburg omitted again from EPL matches


LONDON (AP) -The Premier League referee embroiled in English football's latest racism feud has been omitted from officiating duties for the second straight weekend.

Mark Clattenburg has been accused by Chelsea of using "inappropriate language" toward midfielder John Obi Mikel in a league match against Manchester United on Oct. 28. The matter is being investigated by the police and The Football Association.

Clattenburg was stood down last weekend because of intense level of scrutiny in the wake of the allegations but the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the organization that looks after topflight English referees, had been prepared to return him to the match list for upcoming games.

"However, having discussed this with him, we both consider that it is in Mark's best interests that he has this week away from officiating duties while he prepares to help The FA and police with their enquiries," said Mike Riley, general manager of the PGMOL.

The referees body has stressed that Clattenburg has not been suspended, following allegations that he used the word "monkey" to Mikel during Chelsea's heated 3-2 loss to United at Stamford Bridge. In that match, Clattenburg sent off two Chelsea players and allowed what proved to be the winning goal by Javier Hernandez despite the striker appearing to be in an offside position.

Chelsea sent a file of evidence on Wednesday to the FA, including statements from players and staff members who they claim witnessed Mikel being abused by Clattenburg, who is one of the FIFA candidates to referee at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, managers of Manchester United and Arsenal, are among those to have come out in support of Clattenburg.

"PGMOL has one of the world's finest refereeing groups, they are focused on delivering high officiating standards to the Barclays Premier League and the overall morale of the group remains high," Riley said. "The relationship between players, managers and match officials has improved both on and off pitch over the last four seasons and there is every reason to think this will continue."

The FA is hoping to deal with the case quickly in light of the most recent racism scandal, involving Chelsea defender John Terry. That took nearly a year to be resolved, blighting the English game.

Terry was banned for four matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a league match, despite being cleared of the offense in a criminal court.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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