Football, especially English football, has for many years been used to being a bit of a self governing body, where men are allowed to be men, and what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. If needed we will have a manly men’s chat about it afterwards.
Violent tackles have been part of the game, name calling and even racial slurs have all been part of the (sometimes) beautiful game. Now i agree in the notion that in many ways, football is a unique entity that should be allowed to be what it is. But there are and has to be limitations. Luckily racism now seems be one of them.
Earlier this year John Terry, the Chelsea captain, was charged and found guilty in “using abusive language” against QPR player Anton Ferdinand.
3 days ago Chelsea launched an official complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg, accusing him of racially abusing midfielder John Obi Mikel in a game against Manchester United.
“It remains unclear whether Mikel claims to have heard Clattenburg allegedly calling him a “monkey” during a heated and controversial match. But Chelsea, while refusing to specify who, are adamant that someone on their team heard the offensive term being directed at Mikel and, as such, they were bound to take the matter further, particularly as the Nigeria international has been so incensed by it.”
Naturally Clattenburg is innocent until proven guilty, but that has not stopped to high profile Premier League managers in commenting on the matter today.
Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson: “I don’t believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that,” said Ferguson. I refuse to believe it. I think it’s unthinkable. In the modern climate I just refuse to believe it. It’s as simple as that. There’s no way a referee would stoop to that. I’m convinced of that.”
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger: “I prefer, when I didn’t behave well, to have an explanation [discussion] with the referee at the end of the game, or on another day, rather than going public with little proof. I’m not a great believer in making these stories public.”
To see the Wenger footage go to about 7 mins and 11 mins
I am in no way saying that Clattenburg is innocent, and in my opinion as a Premier League manager with a word that carries a lot of weight, neither should you. Ferguson’s statement is if nothing else, a little ignorant. Had it been about a bad foul or offside that Clattenburg had missed, then it is what it is. But
we are talking about racism here, a serious offence that has become more and more profiled in football in recent years.
Which brings me to Arsene Wenger…. i mean what the fuck!
Is he really serious that something as serious as an allegation of racial abuse by a referee against a player, should be handled internally because there might not be enough evidence against the ref??
First of all, something as serious as racist allegations should never ever kept quit in the way Wenger suggests. Especially in a situation like that of Clattenburg and Mikel. It was said or not said in a very public forum, and the two involved people are big profiles in their respective fields. On top of that football around the globe is having huge problems with both fans and players based on racism. Just a few days after this incident, something else happened, so it’s not like this is an isolated event.
Secondly, the issue of guilt or the level of evidence in a racism case is should never be determined by any of the involved parties, be it player, ref or club. It’s not even down to the British Football Association. This is, and should be, a legal matter. Anyone who thinks otherwise are stuck in the wrong century.
it is proven that Mark Clattenburg said what he is accused of, then it will add an additional layer to the problems football has with racism globally. If he is acquitted, it’s going to put Chelsea Football Club in the eye of the storm, with whispers of double standards already floating around.
No matter what it will have edged football an inch closer to a non-tolerance stance when it comes to racism. A stance that is more important than ever!
(thank you to Cousin Roy for inspiring this)