Referee Mark Clattenburg continues to come under fire from Chelsea players, as today it has been revealed that two players have claimed he told Nigerian midfielder Mikel John Obi to "shut up you monkey" after booking him in the Blues' heated 2-3 loss to Manchester United.
Another claim leveled at Clattenburg is that he referred to Chelsea's Juan Mata as a "Spanish t***". There has been no public statement made by Clattenburg, though Sky have reported that he has denied the allegations and is "mortified" by them.
Those defending him are suggesting that the Chelsea's players claims stem from their frustration at his refereeing, as it has been suggested that he was biased in their defeat to Man U after making a series of controversial decisions, including allowing Hernandez's offside goal and sending off Fernando Torres for diving.
Chelsea have made a formal complaint and Clattenburg will not be officiating any Premier League matches this weekend, with the Professional Game Match Officials Board asking him to stand down given the "intense levels of scrutiny".
Former top referee George Courtney, who officiated in both the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, defended Clattenburg, saying: "We have got to apply zero tolerance to any racism but I would be very, very surprised, shocked, dismayed and disappointed if it was true.
"I've known Mark for many years. He has travelled all over the world, he's refereed players from different backgrounds, cultures, creeds, colours and religions.
"Like most referees at that level there are going to be turbulent times when he is at the centre of controversy. I don't think he'll be fazed by the negative publicity."
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