at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – England's governing Football Association announced Thursday it would take no action against referee Mark Clattenburg over allegations he used a racist remark towards Chelsea's John Obi Mikel.
The FA said there was "no case to answer" over allegations Clattenburg said "shut up you monkey" to the Nigeria midfielder during Chelsea's 3-2 Premier League defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28.
However, an FA statement said the complaint by Mikel's Brazilian team-mate Ramires had been made in good faith.
But the FA did charge Mikel for an alleged use of threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or around the match officials' changing room following the match.
Meanwhile, a relieved Clattenburg, who hasn't officiated in a major fixture since Chelsea made their complaint public just a few hours after the final whistle of a fractious match, spoke Thursday of having experienced the "most stressful time" of his career and urged football chiefs to learn from his case.
"I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions," he said.
"I am extremely grateful for the invaluable support of my family.
"The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.
"To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.
"Racism has no place in football and this experience should not discourage those to speak out if they genuinely believe they are a victim of abuse.
"However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved," he added.
"I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation.
"I hope no referee has to go through this in the future."
Last week British police dropped their own separate enquiry into Clattenburg's conduct during the incident, sparked by a complaint from the Society of Black Lawyers, because no victims had come forward and they had not received any evidence. – AFP