Mark Clattenburg police probe 'important for society'

31/10/12

Juan Mata, Mark Clattenburg and John Obi Mikel

It is vital police investigate racial slur claims about ref Mark Clattenburg, says The Society of Black Lawyers.

Clattenburg is alleged to have used "inappropriate language" towards two players during Chelsea's match against Manchester United on 28 October.

The FA is also investigating the claims.

David Neita from the society said: "By protecting players, we're actually protecting society from race hate crimes because there is a direct link."

The Society of Black Lawyers has complained to the police, who are now looking at the matter, despite none of the Chelsea players themselves lodging a complaint with them.

David Neita said making the complaint was still justified.

"Sometimes people need other people to stand up for them," he said.

"Just because no-one present complained, it doesn't make it right.

"This referee is considered innocent until proven guilty, so if he's done nothing wrong then the law protects him."

'It's a crime'

He also explained why the society chose to get involved.

"We're very serious about removing racism from the sport," he said. "It's not just misbehaviour, it's a crime.

It's not just misbehaviour, it's a crime. So we thought we would get the police involved
David Neita, The Society of Black Lawyers

"Crime is a remit of the police, so we thought we would get the police involved because the FA has powers, but limited powers."

Chelsea only complained to the FA about the allegations but it's understood that the 37-year-old Premier League referee denies the claims.

The idea of a separate union for black players is also being looked at by The Society of Black Lawyers.

Speaking to Newsbeat, David Neita defended the idea.

"By the day we're getting more and more people expressing an interest and players coming forward," he said.

"I understand why people might say it's divisive, but really it's not.

"If the aim is to get rid of racism in sport and there's a team of black people who can come together and work with players, work with legal experts, to help in this area to actually eradicate racism from sport, shouldn't that be welcomed?"