Mark Clattenburg will take charge of Saints’ trip to West Ham this Saturday – the first time he will have refereed the club since they launched a formal complaint about his conduct.
Saints accused the official of making an inappropriate and insulting comment to their captain, Adam Lallana, during the 2-1 defeat away to Everton in December.
Clattenburg was alleged to have told the midfielder: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.”
Saints complained to both the Football Association and the referees’ body, the PGMOL, following the incident, but both ruled that Clattenburg had no case to answer.
The FA’s statement in response said: “The FA has given its full consideration to this matter and it is our view that the comments, as disclosed in Southampton’s letter of complaint, do not constitute misconduct under the FA’s rules.”
The club said, at the time, that they did “not feel it appropriate for Mr Clattenburg to officiate in any of our matches until this matter is properly resolved.”
However, after their complaints were thrown out, Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino did insist that he would be happy for the referee to take charge of the team’s matches.
Pochettino said: “It would not be a problem if we had Mark Clattenburg again refereeing us.
“We would try to help as much as we can. We know refereeing is a very tough job that demands a lot, and we try to have a very good relationship with him, a very impartial game, and a very fair game, which is what we all want from this game.”
The Saints boss had also added: “If we ever do come across Mark Clattenburg again, we will try to make things as easy as possible, because we know it’s a tough job.”
The Premier League yesterday confirmed that Durham official Clattenburg would be the referee for this weekend’s contest at Upton Park.