Southampton have made an official complaint  and are demanding an apology from referee Mark Clattenburg, who they believe directed a remark of ‘personal nature’ towards Saints captain Adam Lallana, reports the Daily Mirror.

The incident is alleged to have taken place during Southampton’s 2-1 defeat to Everton on Sunday, a game in which Mauricio Pochettino’s side had two penalty appeals turned down.

Southampton captain Lallana spoke with Clattenburg, and believes he was ‘verbally abused’ by the official.

The Saints then sent a complaint to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited – the body that oversees elite refereeing – on New Years Eve.

Southampton have demanded an apology, and have insisted that Clattenburg does not officiate any of their matches until the outcome of the investigation is complete.

Lallana claimed the comment was  of a ‘personal’ nature.

Clattenburg was involved in controversy last season, when Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel accused the official of making a racist remark towards him during Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge in November 2012.

Clattenburg was later cleared of any wrong doing.

The Premier League and PGMOL have declined to comment on the incident, whilst Clattenburg is set to take charge of the FA Cup tie between Arsenal and Tottenham tomorrow.