• Premier League

Referees consider Chelsea boycott

ESPN staff
November 3, 2012

Premier League referees are contemplating a refusal to officiate any matches involving Chelsea following the Mark Clattenburg saga.

Clattenburg is still under investigation for allegedly using "inappropriate language" towards John Obi Mikel last weekend, despite the referee distancing himself from any wrongdoing.

But former Premier League referee Clive Wilkes believes the way Clattenburg has been treated by Chelsea is creating a disdain towards the club amongst officials.

"I keep in touch with a lot of the lads and there is such a strength of feeling about what is happening to Mark," Wilkes told the Sun. "I know a few referees who are even talking about boycotting Chelsea games because of all this.

"Remember, it's not the first time Chelsea have targeted a referee - there's been Anders Frisk and Graham Poll. And some refs are now saying enough is enough.

"It's no exaggeration to say the refs in this country have never felt lower. They are so disillusioned. They feel vulnerable, feel that they are being left isolated - that they are getting no backing, no support.

"They want to speak out themselves but are too frightened, they fear they will be sacked if they go public with their grievances.

"There have even been murmurings about strike action but that's very much the last resort. They'd much prefer to get around the table with the FA, PFA, the clubs and players to sort this out as quickly as possible."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.