Racist-accused referee Mark Clattenburg is 100% innocent and the allegations are ‘unthinkable’, claimed Manchester United chief Sir Alex Ferguson today.
Never been famed for his allegiance shown towards referees, Sir Alex has charged out of the blocks in support of the match official who is being investigated for using ‘inappropriate language’ against Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel.
The incident is alleged to have happened during United’s fiery 3-2 league win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and Clattenburg has been suspended from refereeing duties this weekend as the FA and Police continue their investigations.
“I don’t believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that, I refuse to believe it,” said the Scotsman.
“I think it is unthinkable in the modern climate. I just don’t believe it, it’s as simple as that.
“There is no way a referee would stoop to that, I am convinced of that.”
During his 26-year tenure as United manager, Sir Alex has had several high-profile run ins with referees – in 2007 he was slapped with a two-game ban and fined £5,000 for using inappropriate language against Clattenburg.
Fergie has been banned for 15 games and fined £75,000 for comments made about referees in the last decade but he insists that he believes in the integrity of officials.
“I think in the modern game, the way we see the game today rather than how it was 25 years ago, it has completely changed,” he said.”
“I played myself and I know the banter that went on between referees and players 25 years ago is different from today.
“I have never heard a player come to me in the last 15 years and say a referee has sworn at them during a game, ever.
“So, that is where I stand. I don’t believe it.”
The race row surrounding Clattenburg continues and he will have the full support of his assistants for the game – Michael McDonough, Simon Long and Michael Jones are expected to testify in support of Clattenburg and fully deny hearing any allegations.