The Football Association will take no action against referee Mark Clattenburg over a complaint by Chelsea that he used a racist remark towards one of their players.
The FA have decided there is "no case to answer" over the allegation the referee said "shut up you monkey" to midfielder John Obi Mikel. An FA statement also said the complaint by Mikel's team-mate Ramires was "made in good faith".
Clattenburg spoke of his relief and said the last few weeks had been "the most stressful of his life". He said: "I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions."
He added: "I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family, my Select Group colleagues, the management of Professional Game Match Officials Limited and our union Prospect. The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life."
An FA statement added: "Moreover it was contradicted by other witnesses and does not cross the evidential threshold required to bring a charge against Mark Clattenburg. Having considered Counsel's opinion, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, The FA does not believe that there is a case for Mr Clattenburg to answer."
Mikel meanwhile has now been charged by the FA for using threatening words or behaviour - an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 - after going into the referees' changing room after the match in question - Chelsea's 3-2 defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28. Mikel has until 30 November to respond to the charge.
Referees chief Mike Riley said they will look to record all match officials' conversations during games in the future.
Riley, general manager of PGMOL, said: "Regrettably, Mark has had to endure four weeks that have brought massive disruption to his professional and personal life through no fault of his own. To reduce the risk of an episode of this nature being repeated PGMOL will introduce recording of the referees' communication system on a private basis."
Chelsea said they had had a duty to report the claim against Clattenburg. A club statement said: "Chelsea Football Club accepts the Football Association's decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter.
"The club also notes the charge brought against John Mikel Obi. While the player does not deny the charge, he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances."
- Sports & Recreation
- Mark Clattenburg
- The Football Association
- John Obi Mikel