English football is in danger of being dragged through another bitter racism saga after police launched a formal investigation into whether
Press Association Sport understands the 37-year-old completely denies the allegations against him, which are also the subject of a
Clattenburg and his fellow professionals were said to be shocked and angered by the claims as the refereeing fraternity rallied around their colleague.
There were also suggestions of seething resentment in some quarters at the way Chelsea had made its complaint against Clattenburg public and a desire to see strong action taken against it if the official was cleared.
That could take weeks or even months after the police became involved in proceedings less than 24 hours after the FA's investigation began.
Chelsea itself could yet make a criminal complaint, having appointed an external legal team to conduct its own probe, something which is expected to conclude on Wednesday.
And the FA may be forced to postpone its inquiry if the police requests it does so, something it came under heavy fire for during the year-long John Terry scandal.
A police statement read: "An investigation has been launched into alleged comments made during a football match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC at Stamford Bridge on
"Officers from Hammersmith & Fulham borough are in liaison with
Herbert defended his intervention, telling
"It must be subject to a full and proper investigation.
"It is to lend some seriousness and some weight behind what is happening in football."
Herbert admitted his complaint was based on reports rather than first-hand evidence but added: "We weren't there but we don't need to be there in order to report an incident.
"This appears to have had some cogency and so it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
"I think the
"If we've got this completely wrong then, of course, the police will tell us."
"Football has got to be confident enough to deal with it. I have said that to the House of Commons, the
"We need to grasp the nettle and show we are more than capable of dealing with it."
He added: "I'm quite concerned that when this happened with the John Terry and
"This time, I want football to learn from it and deal with it as transparently as possible.
"In football, the penalties can be severe. In a court of law, the penalty for racial abuse would be a small amount in comparison to what the FA could fine."
Taylor welcomed the FA's refusal to halt its own investigation, citing the
Clattenburg, who vowed on Sunday to co-operate fully with any investigation, was expected to be spoken to by both police and the FA, possibly after submitting a written account about what took place during the game.
He has already filed what is known as an 'extraordinary incident report', which is understood mainly to deal with an alleged confrontation that took place in the referees' room after full-time.
Sources have told Press Association Sport Chelsea manager
The referee, his assistants and fourth official are understood to have been stunned by the claims, with
The situation appears to have been complicated by suggestions Mikel or Mata may not have either, with reports claiming they were informed of the alleged abuse by team-mates.
Midfielder Oriol Romeu was quoted as having told a Spanish radio station that Mata had confirmed as much.
It was unclear on Tuesday whether Clattenburg would elect to continue refereeing or take a break from the game while any investigation was pending but on Monday he accepted being stood down from officiating in the coming week.
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