14 November 2012

Lawyer accuses Chelsea FC of 'cover-up'

The chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers has claimed that Chelsea Football Club and England's Football Association have 'covered-up' alleged racial comments made by referee Mark Clattenburg by not reporting them to the police.

By James Barnes

Celebrating or covering up?

London’s Metropolitan Police has now dropped its investigation into the complaint – made by the society – that Mr Clattenburg used ‘inappropriate language’ towards two Chelsea players during a match against Premier League rivals Manchester United.
According to a report by the BBC, the society’s chairman, Peter Herbert, said: ‘It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.’

No victims

Chelsea made a formal complaint against Mr Clattenburg on 29 October, the day after the game, and the FA opened an investigation a day later. However, the police began their own inquiry based on a written complaint by Mr Herbert.
The police investigation ended yesterday as ‘no victims have come forward’ and ‘without a victim and/or any evidence that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be investigated’.
The FA’s investigation is to continue, but Mr Herbert is outraged that neither the association nor Chelsea took the matter to the police.

Cosy exchange

‘We strongly suspect that the FA and/or Chelsea have failed to provide this information to the Metropolitan Police in order for them to conduct a proper investigation,’ Mr Herbert said. ‘The information we had is that there are “no victims”. Well, if there are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first place? What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing at then? Are they having some cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the police?’
Reuters reports that Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who is also the managing partner of the London office of New York law firm Skadden, commented: ‘Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, “Look, it's not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider.” If that had leaked out, we would've really been crucified.’
The FA has not commented, but it is expected that officials will announce the results of their investigation in the next two days.

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