…As Mata chickens out of racism row
By Onyewuchi Nwachukwu
The racism row between Mikel Obi and referee, Mark Clattenburg, has taken a more controversial dimension following revelation by his Chelsea teammate, Juan Mata that he did not hear the referee saying anything during Chelsea’s 3-2 home loss to Manchester United. The referee remains investigated for allegedly using ‘inappropriate’ language against Mikel in the most controversial match played in the Premier League this term.
The Blues originally issued two complaints against the match official, one for inappropriate comments made against the Nigerian midfielder and a second for something believed to have been said to the Spanish international, only for the latter to now back out. Mata has now admitted he did not hear Clattenburg mutter anything at all, but reminded people that the matter is being handled by the club and the English FA.
“I didn’t hear anything, but it’s an issue that Chelsea and even the FA are already investigating. I repeat that I didn’t hear anything though,” Mata told Spanish paper, AS. This new dimension might come as a cog in the wheel of the case being pursued by Chelsea, and it might have an adverse effect on Mikel in the long term.
The Football Association expects to complete its investigation into Chelsea’s claims that Clattenburg racially insulted Mikel in few days time. Chelsea players, including Mikel and Ramires, gave witness statements to Jenni Kennedy, head of governance at the FA last Monday. FA chiefs, who are under pressure to make a swift decision, could even make an announcement on potential charges soon.