sport

Clattenburg denies accusation

Referee Mark Clattenburg has rejected claims he used inappropriate language to two Chelsea players at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The accusations arose in the wake of the Blues' 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and the Football Association subsequently launched an inquiry.

But Clattenburg is adamant he did nothing wrong and will co-operate with the probe in a bid to clear his name with the full support of the other match officials.

One of the incidents is thought to involve Jon Obi Mikel, although early reports that the language used contained a racial element have not been confirmed by the London club.

That would also apply should the police choose to launch their own probe after confirming last night they were "considering" what they described as a "complaint" from the Society of Black Lawyers.

The FA had yet to interview Clattenburg this morning but are expected to do so, possibly after requesting a written account from him about what took place during Sunday's Premier League game at Stamford Bridge.

Clattenburg has already filed what is known as an 'extraordinary incident report', which is understood to mainly deal with a meeting which is alleged to have taken place in the referees' room after full-time.

Sources told Press Association Sport that Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, assistant manager Eddie Newton and chief executive Ron Gourlay were all present as Mikel angrily accused Clattenburg of abusing him.

The referee, his assistants and fourth official are understood to have been stunned by the claims, with Michael McDonough, Simon Long and Michael Jones denying hearing anything of that nature over the officials' microphone link-up.

Clattenburg's fellow professional referees were today understood to be as shocked and angered as their colleague over the allegations against him and were rallying around him.