sport

Clattenburg holds peace talks

Mark Clattenburg has held clear the air talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck after the FA cleared the referee of racially abusing John Obi Mikel.

The meeting took place at St George's Park National Football Centre on Monday at the request of match officials, with Buck meeting 16 referees including Clattenburg.

The 37-year-old will referee his first game since the allegations were made when Southampton take on Norwich on Wednesday and will also take charge of Saturday's game between Arsenal and Swansea.

The meeting signals a step towards brokering peace with Clattenburg and paves the way for him to officiate future games at Stamford Bridge.

The FA dismissed complaints last week that Clattenburg had racially abused Mikel during Chelsea's defeat to Manchester United in October.

Midfielder Ramires claims he heard Clattenburg refer to Mikel as "a monkey" during the 3-2 loss but the governing body ruled there was no case for the referee to answer.

Chief Executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore was also in attendance at the meeting together with Mike Riley, Chief Executive of Professional Game Match Officials.

A Premier League statement said: "There was a constructive and open discussion. The club regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of Sunday 28th October.

"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.

"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."