The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, insists the club are not hypocrites for supporting their captain, John Terry, and at the same time lodging a complaint against the referee Mark Clattenburg, reports The Guardian.
Buck says Chelsea have a "duty of care" for Terry even if he has done something wrong – he was banned for four matches for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand – and that the club would have been "crucified" if they had not reported to the FA allegations that Clattenburg used inappropriate language interpreted as racist towards Mikel John Obi.
"Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, 'Look, it's not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider'. If that had leaked out, we would've really been crucified," he told the Evening Standard.
"The press seem to juxtapose 'our support' of John Terry and what's going on here and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical. We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this. From our perspective, the latest situation was pretty straightforward. We have an obligation to report what may be misconduct. We did that, in good faith and not maliciously."
He continued: "The reaction has been very unfair," he said. "We weren't interested in any confrontation with the referee or anybody else, had no thoughts of revenge on the referee. He made two obvious mistakes [sending Fernando Torres off and allowing Javier Hernández's offside winner] which changed the tide.
"I felt we had the moral high ground, so I didn't really feel that bad about the defeat or have that feeling in my stomach. I thought we'd be treated very kindly in the newspapers next day. It [the decision] was made after a great deal of anguish and after talking long and hard that evening about what should we do.
"We were guided by obligations that are imposed by the Football Association and also as an employer. FA rule E14 basically says a participant shall immediately report to the association any incident or matter which may be considered to be misconduct.
"Misconduct is a defined term under the FA regulations and includes such racial behaviour. We also had to consider the Equality Act 2010, which imposes an obligation on an employer to take certain actions if an employee is subject to discrimination by third parties."