I will admit that I do not know the whole story with regards the Southampton allegation that referee Mark Clattenburg insulted their Captain Adam Lallana. All I know is that they made a complaint to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), which was rejected and stated that the referee in question has no case to answer.
According to reports, the letter of complaint from Southampton stated that the referee said this to their Captain, ‘You are very different now, since you’ve played for England. You never used to be like this‘. If that is all that was said then I have to say it is a very flimsy argument and really makes me reconsider my idea of what kind of club Southampton are and what kind of player Adam Lallana is.
The incident happened in the game against Everton on December 31 and was after loud shouts for a Southampton penalty. What was said to Clattenburg in the build-up is not clear but the clubs have to be very careful when it comes to this type of thing. I think the referees are constantly being harassed and screamed at by players, look at any club with any decision going against them. You will see at least one player get right into the face of the referee. I have no problem with a rebuttal from the referee and in fact I would prefer it to the referee feeling he cannot say anything to players any more. If the referee feels he cannot speak to players then you may just find that instead of this you find players getting yellow cards and more reds.
Now that doesn’t mean that referees do not have cases to answer with abuse of players. In fact, this same referee was accused two years ago of racially abusing Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel. In that case, both the FA and the police dropped their subsequent investigations and Clattenburg was cleared. Accusations of that nature are to be reported but I am afraid that the evidence shown so far with Lallana just makes a mockery of the whole situation.