UK & World News
Clattenburg: Chelsea 'Regrets' Referee Claims
Chelsea stopped short of a full apology after expressing "regrets" over the way they handed their accusation that referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused midfielder John Obi Mikel.
The club also admitted they should have "given more consideration'' before they publicly announced their reporting of the allegation less than two hours after their defeat to Manchester United on October 28.
Clattenburg was sidelined for a month but cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation by the Football Association (FA).
He returned as fourth official for Sunday's game between Tottenham and West Ham, and will take charge of Wednesday's match between Southampton and Norwich at St Mary's Stadium.
Chelsea have said they would welcome Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future, and have no issue with him being appointed to referee another Chelsea match.
A joint statement issued by the club, the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) group and the Premier League read: "Following the completion of the investigation by the FA into the case involving Chelsea FC and Mark Clattenburg, the Premier League and Chelsea FC requested, and PGMOL agreed, to meet in order to discuss the issues surrounding the reporting of the allegation.
"The Select Group appreciated the opportunity to speak to [Chelsea chairman] Bruce Buck personally. His willingness to engage and answer all the questions put to him was welcomed.
"There was a constructive and open discussion. The club regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of October 28.
"The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family.
"The referees accept that, given Chelsea FC had received a good faith claim from one of their employees, the club had an obligation under FA rules to report the allegation.
"There was recognition by all parties that the impartiality and integrity of refereeing in this country remains paramount. Chelsea FC made it clear they would welcome Mark Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future and PGMOL would have no issue in appointing him to a Chelsea FC match going forward.
"It was a thoroughly professional meeting. All parties now believe it is time to draw a line under this incident, learn from it and move on for the good of all Premier League clubs, players and match officials."