FA accused of ‘taking the p**s’ after Chelsea star swung at referee

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reviews the Fulham win

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Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg once accused the FA of ‘taking the p**s’ after Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi attempted to punch him after a match. Clattenburg has weighed in on the recent refereeing storm after a flurry of altercations over the weekend.

The headline incident occurred during Fulham’s FA Cup capitulation at Manchester United on Sunday, losing a 1-0 lead after going down to nine men to exit the quarter-finals at Old Trafford.

Aleksandar Mitrovic could face a lengthy ban after shoving Chris Kavanagh and shouting in his face, unhappy with the VAR decision to award a penalty that started United’s 3-1 comeback.

Willian also saw red for blocking the goal-bound shot with his hand, and Marco Silva became the third casualty after abusing Kavanagh and the fourth official.

In a column for the Mail, Clattenburg recalled one of his own encounters after a match at Stamford Bridge.

Clattenburg claimed Mikel had to be held back as he ‘wanted to break his legs’ and slammed the FA for not protecting him properly by only dishing out a three-match suspension.

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He wrote: “Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi once swung at me in the referee’s room at Stamford Bridge.

“He screamed he wanted to break my legs and was being held back by Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton.

“In the end, Mikel only received a three-match ban for that incident. I thought, ‘Are the FA taking the p**s? He should be banned for the rest of the season, if not more.'”

On Saturday, Wolves’ Matheus Nunes was sent off on the sidelines in their 4-2 defeat to Leeds United after he was adjudged to have pushed the linesman.

Bruno Fernandes also came under scrutiny during Liverpool’s 7-0 win against United after nudging the linesman out of the way, but no action was taken after an investigation.

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Clattenburg believes that with the rate of such incidents rising, the FA could make an example out of Mitrovic as a warning for future misconduct.

“Officials are being abused weekly — Aleksandar Mitrovic is just the latest example — and the issue is what’s seen at the top level is transferred all the way down to grassroots,” Clattenburg added.

“Mitrovic wasn’t as aggressive as Mikel, but he got physical with Kavanagh. The FA may now use him to set an example for others.

“Referees need to be respected at the highest level because if they aren’t, that impacts what happens at the lowest level.”

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