• FA Referee faces racist allegations.

    I know it's not Rugby, but it's certainly about being a match official in a high pressure envoronment.

    In case you are unaware of the events, Mark Clattenburg, an experienced FA, UEFA & FIFA Referee has been accused by Chelsea of using innopropriate language towards two of their players. (Yes, I see the irony too). The reports state that the language was racial in context, what was said though has not been reported.

    The article from the BBC can be seen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20128484

    I find it hard to believe that an International level referee would racially abuse a player, especially a referee that has been in the game as long as Mark Clattenburg. Ignoring the facts of whether his on field decisions were right or wrong (we are referees here, we know we all make decisions people believe are wrong, but are right, and that we also make mistakes too), the media attention that this is getting seems to be twice as much as that of what John Terry received when he allegedly racially abused Anton Ferdinand.

    Another shocking bit of news from the initial report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20119340 is that the match officials in Association Football have open mics to talk to each other, but it is not recorded. Can that really be true? Surely it must be recorded for their self review and advisors/assessor review?

    If the allegations are found to be true, and I can only see this being the case if one of the other three officials confirms they heard it, the book will be probably thrown at this referee and he will be banned for a very long time. This is despite the fact that John Terry's recial slur only saw him receive a four match ban. Is it right that referees are treated more harshly, if found guilty of the same crime? Is that not grounds for discrimination?

    If the allegations cannot be proven, which I believe will be the only outcome due to the communications not being recorded, (and hence no proof he didn't say it) I would hope the space in media will be as big, but I don't believe it will be. Perhaps it may also encourage the FA to record the conversations of the match officials to each other, and to players.

    I feel for Mark Clattenburg, none of us would ever want to be in that situation, as whilst some point to him being 'No stranger to controvesy', I am fairly sure he will just be another referee trying to do his best in a coudron of hatred. Why would anyone want to be a Football Association Referee in this day and age?

    I also wonder about legal ramifications surrounding this treatement of a referee? In any other profession this sort of abuse would see the employer in an industrial tribuneral if they were not seen to actively stop it, but in Association Football, it just continues every week. Perhaps it needs one of these Referees to snap and take the FA to court, in order for them to realise that their duty of care extends to protection from this form of bullying too.

    Just to add some extra to how much the fourth official and the referee enjoyed this game at the weekend, just look at their faces on these pictures:



    These pictures are Copyright of the BBC and are reproduced for showing the enjoyment two of the match officials had and should not be reproduced.
    Comments 73 Comments
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      I read on the BBC website yesterday that the other officials ie Linesmen etc held the key to this allegation as the referee was on a constantly open microphone. I may be thick, but do Premier League games have the equivalent of RefMike?

      I've got a small radio that picks up the referees broadcast and which cost me £10 from the club shop. It's brilliant, but if they sell those at Premier League matches, surely everybody listening in will have heard what was said.
    1. winchesterref's Avatar
      winchesterref -
      They currently don't do this at football as far as I know, I think there was a group who weren't in favour when it was suggested. The mic is open to the referee and assistants only.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      No the mic's are not broadcast-able.
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      For some reason, the PFA thought it might be a bad idea to have evidence of exactly how foul their members are to match officials (and to each other), so they blocked recording and broadcasting of the conversations. Which is why this is now a Thing, because if there was a recording of the feed then they'd just pull that out and listen to it, open and shut case.

      What really irritates me about the media's initial reaction is how they're all rushing to pigeonhole Clattenburg as a Controversial Referee (tm) with a big ego because he has a dodgy haircut and sometimes he makes bad decisions.
    1. Simon Thomas's Avatar
      Simon Thomas -
      No the soccer boys mikes are not open to anyone but the Team of 4, unlike rugby with the RefMike sets spectators can buy. Increasingly also we are seeing rugby DoRs / coaches getting sets that can hear the ref/assessor or team of three. For quite a few seasons some clubs at National leagues levels 2-5 have had receivers linked to their video cameras to pick up the referee mike, so easy to get a second receiver for the coaches to listen in

      At one L5 I assessed this season, a flanker was YC'd for in-at-side of ruck (3 repeat offences in 15 minutes) and going to deck to shouts of suprise / annoyance from the spectators. The DoR was wired up to same frequency as me and turned round and said - "fair cop sir, the ref had warned him twice after repeat offences".

      At Premiership level all match officials communication (referee, Ars, 4th official and TMO where present) are recorded and are kept by RFU Elite Officials management. I believed Ed Morrison downloads them all to his laptop so he has a full reference record at all times for those DoR/Coaches questions that pop up. PRL could do the same, but I understand FIFA would not sanction it.
    1. Simon Thomas's Avatar
      Simon Thomas -
      on a personal note I have great sympathy for Mark C (albeit he is a bit if a maverick referee) and all other soccer referees who put up with unacceptable levels of dissent and abuse from players at all levels. Perhaps the Soccer Elite Officials management should have taken a stronger line to elminate such hysterical antics earlier and we can only hope they do as a result of this.

      Mark C had a bit of a car crash match from what I saw, but it does appear sas if Chelsea's strategy of vilification has wider objectives given recent events with John Terry.
    1. Phil E's Avatar
      Phil E -
      Can't help thinking Chelsea would have a stronger position to complain from if they had won!

      Clattenburg is a very good referee and has a reputation for giving a lot of cards and not putting up with any crap.
      The fact that he may have swore at players is not exactly news. I either sit next to the dugout, or stand in the tunnel at our games. You can frequently hear players swear at the referee, and have heard several referees swear back, telling players to F off, or get on with the F'ing game. Clatts is not one I would put in that category however. He is also not stupid and to use any, even remotely, racist language in the current climate would be incredibly stupid. No one I have spoken to can believe he has done this.

      Word on the street is that Chelsea may be trying to deflect the media away from John Terry.

      Incidentally, the foul and abusive language used by players was one of the reasons given for not having broadcastable ref mic's.
    1. Toby Warren's Avatar
      Toby Warren -
      I assume that Chelsea will report each of their players to the FA when they swear at a ref or an opponent?
    1. didds's Avatar
      didds -
      kerry packers' World Series Cricket inaugrated the idea of stump microphones to hear snicks and bowlers fiootfall etc as a bit of extra...

      they had to stop using them allegedly because all you could hear was Ian Chappell swearing at the oppo batsmen!

      didds
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      Quote Originally Posted by 4eyesbetter View Post
      ... What really irritates me about the media's initial reaction is how they're all rushing to pigeonhole Clattenburg as a Controversial Referee (tm) with a big ego because he has a dodgy haircut and sometimes he makes bad decisions.
      He can't be that bad a ref; as I understand it he was in charge of the Olympic Mens Final.
    1. Phil E's Avatar
      Phil E -
      Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
      He can't be that bad a ref; as I understand it he was in charge of the Olympic Mens Final.
      He is a Champions League Referee, so no, he can't be "all that bad".
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by 4eyesbetter View Post
      What really irritates me about the media's initial reaction is how they're all rushing to pigeonhole Clattenburg as a Controversial Referee (tm) with a big ego because he has a dodgy haircut and sometimes he makes bad decisions.
      Well, that and the fact that he was suspended and later sacked for breach of contract in 2008 and told he would never referee again. He was successful in his challenge to that action, but still served a season's suspension. He is clearly very good on the field, as he has been able to force his way back into international contention, despite what must have been fairly frosty working relationships with the bosses.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      So far no idea of what was said and in what context, has he been appraised of the precise charges, if not why not, and if he has then the charges are a matter of public concern and - like criminal charges - should be a matter of public record.
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Davet View Post
      has he been appraised of the precise charges
      Grrrrr Mpfhhh woarghh. And I thought you were an ally! I'll apprise you of my UDI in due course.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      Mea culpa - lazy, idle and feckless and simply unthinking.

      You are correct and I abase myself.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      You're declaring independence?
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      I don't doubt that because of the way footballers treat refs, the refs are probably all very confident, if not extrovert types of people. lets be honest, if you got the abuse they get week in week out, would you still be doing it?
    1. didds's Avatar
      didds -
      You have to seriously question why the proverbial they do it, or at least why FIFA et al seem uninterested in preventing it.

      didds
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dixie View Post
      Grrrrr Mpfhhh woarghh. And I thought you were an ally! I'll apprise you of my UDI in due course.
      Quote Originally Posted by Davet View Post
      You're declaring independence?
      From our alliance.

      Quote Originally Posted by Robert Burns View Post
      I don't doubt that because of the way footballers treat refs, the refs are probably all very confident, if not extrovert types of people. lets be honest, if you got the abuse they get week in week out, would you still be doing it?
      I'm sure only confident people would make it to the top of the refereeing tree in the national sport of any large country. But that's not to suggest that their confidence insulates them from the insecurity that comes with the level of abuse they take. Confident humans they may be - but they are still human. The annals of the corporate world are full of confident, successful people in leadership positions who have taken their own life when the strain gets too much. I genuinely believe that the FA and its European and Global affiliates have a case to answer in employment law for the way they allow their refereeing and officiating employees to be bullied in their workplace.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      I remember reading several years ago about a football referee in Brasil who pulled a gun, shot several players and escaped on a horse.

      soooo tempted on occasion....
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