"Mark Clattenburg left off the referees list for the weekend"
Mark Clattenburg left off the referees list for the weekend Mark Clattenburg will not referee for a second weekend running after informing Mike Riley, the general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, that he needs time to prepare to answer accusations from Chelsea that he used "inappropriate language" towards Mikel John Obi. The Football Association is investigating Chelsea's claims, which were made in the aftermath of Manchester United's 3-2 victory at Stamford Bridge eightdays ago. Clattenburg is due to meet the FA this week, as well as the police, who launched an inquiry after a complaint was made by the Society of Black Lawyers. The 37-year-old is understood to strenuously deny Chelsea's allegations, which include the accusation that there was a racial element to his comments to Mikel. Clattenburg was stood down from Premier League duty last weekend because of the intense spotlight on the official in the wake of the Chelsea-United match. Riley, however, was prepared to appoint Clattenburg to take charge of a Premier League game for this weekend's fixtures until he met the official and it was agreed the timing was not right to return. Clattenburg feels that he needs to focus his mind on his meetings with the FA and the police and there is also a sense that it would be extremely difficult for him to referee when he remains in the eye of a storm. Riley said: "PGMOL was fully prepared to appoint Mark to matches this weekend. However, having discussed this with him, we both consider that it is in Mark's best interests that he has this week away from officiating duties while he prepares to help the FA and police with their inquiries." There is no suggestion that Clattenburg, who has received complete support from the PGMOL, as well as backing from leading managers in the game, will stay away from refereeing until the investigation has been completed. It is more a case that, at this moment, the events at Stamford Bridge continue to feel raw for Clattenburg, who has been under siege from certain sections of the media since the story broke. There are concerns that if Clattenburg returned now, the focus would be on the referee rather than the game. The controversy at Stamford Bridge has prompted wider debate about referees, although Riley insisted that officials enjoy better relations with managers and players than they have done for a long time. "PGMOL has one of the world's finest refereeing groups, they are focused on delivering high officiating standards to the Premier League and the overall morale of the group remains high," Riley said. "The relationship between players, managers and match officials has improved both on and off pitch over the last four seasons and there is every reason to think this will continue." Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man has been arrested over an allegation that a racist gesture was made towards Danny Welbeck during Chelsea's Capital One Cup tie against Manchester United last Wednesday. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "He was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated Section 4a Public Order Act offence and currently remains in custody at the west London police station. Inquiries continue."