English football is in danger of being dragged through another bitter racism saga after police launched a formal investigation into whether Mark Clattenburg used "inappropriate language" towards Chelsea stars John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed they had acted on a "complaint" from the Society of Black Lawyers after the European champions accused referee Clattenburg of using comments understood to have been interpreted as racist in the club's acrimonious Barclays Premier League defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

Press Association Sport understands the 37-year-old completely denies the allegations against him, which are also the subject of a Football Association investigation. Clattenburg and his fellow professionals were said to be shocked and angered by the claims as the refereeing fraternity rallied around their colleague.

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#Juan Mata
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#John Obi Mikel