• Referee still on sidelines despite returning to training
• FA set to rule on possible charges by end of week
Mark Clattenburg will sit out another weekend of Premier League football despite returning to training with the top-flight Select Group of officials after the referee's governing body, Professional Match Game Officials, opted against including him on the list for a third successive week.
The Consett official has been omitted since Chelsea lodged an official complaint against him for allegedly using "inappropriate language" during last month's 3-2 defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. The Football Association spent last week interviewing those parties involved and is collating and scrutinising the evidence amassed before determining whether Clattenburg should face charges.
It is alleged the 37-year-old used language that was interpreted as racist towards Mikel John Obi during the game, in which Clattenburg dismissed the hosts' Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres before United's winner was scored from an offside position. The FA expects to have reached a decision over potential misconduct charges by the end of the week, with the regulatory body of the FA to be advised by an independent QC over whether action should follow. Should it be determined that the referee does not have a case to answer then he could potentially return to action the following week.
The FA interviewed Mikel and some of his Chelsea team-mates last week, with the club submitting a dossier of evidence including witness statements from those involved. Clattenburg and his assistants, Michael McDonough and Simon Long, as well as the fourth official, Michael Jones, completed their interviews on Friday.
The referee, who denies any wrongdoing and is understood to have been baffled by the allegations, had liaised heavily with the officials' union, Prospect, ahead of his meeting with the FA's investigators. Clattenburg returned to training at St George's Park on Monday having accepted the PGMO's decision to omit him from the roster after lengthy discussions with the referees' chief, Mike Riley. He is also expected to be interviewed by the Metropolitan police, who have acted on a complaint lodged by the Society of Black Lawyers, though the Met have not asked the FA to put its own investigation on hold for fear of prejudicing any potential criminal charges.