Former English referee, Mark Clattenburg, has opened up on why he has not forgiven ex-Chelsea star John Mikel Obi, nine years after the controversial racist allegation which almost ruined his career.
Clattenburg refereed at England’s highest level for 13 years and was rated among the best European referees at that time but one dark moment in his career was when former Super Eagles captain, Mikel, with the backing of his club made the racist allegation.
In his soon-to-be-released autobiography called ‘Whistle Blower’, Clattenburg revealed some of the undercurrents in that sad racist allegation episode and also revealed why he is yet to forgive Mikel almost a decade after.
“As for Mikel, I have no time for him whatsoever. I cannot forgive someone who has refused to apologise to me.” Clattenburg who appears still hurt said in his book even as he claims he is not surprised Chelsea and Mikel never apologised to him.
After a fiesty game against Manchester United in October 2012, the Blues made a formal complaint to the FA against Clattenburg about his alleged use of “inappropriate language” towards Mikel with a police investigation also launched.
And although the FA cleared Clattenburg of wrongdoing and the police investigation was also subsequently dropped, Clattenburg felt he was treated unfairly throughout the ordeal.
“This could ruin my career. It could ruin my life. The fear is worse than going to prison. I am being called a racist. That is a real life sentence, you don’t come back from that.”
Clattenburg, in his new books, says he still believes Chelsea’s motive could have been a retaliation for John Terry’s suspension.
Though cleared by a court, Terry was found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand on the ‘balance of probability’.
Chelsea believed the case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Terry was found not guilty in a court of law. That is why, I believe, they may have pursued the allegation against me, to test the FA’s balance of probability standard,” he wrote.
Clattenburg also suggested that the fear of him reporting Mikel for his inexplicable violent act towards him after the game could have also triggered the racist allegation as an indictment of the former Nigeria captain would have led to a lengthy ban.
“I can see the rage in his (Mikel) eyes. Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo and coach Eddie Newton are holding him back. Mikel is out of control, he’s trying to get at me. ‘I’m gonna break your legs!’ he shouts.
“F****** hell, he’s swinging for me. There are arms everywhere. I’m ducking to avoid them. A security guy is grappling with Mikel, pulling him away.
“That’s not easy, Mikel is strong. I’ve got my boots on, I’m slipping all over the place. I’m knocked backwards into some seats. I just try to defend myself. He’s still hellbent on hurting me.
“Was I going to report Mikel for what he had done in the dressing-room? Absolutely. There was no disputing what he did. Mikel would be facing a lengthy ban.”
However, before Clattenburg even got home, the racist allegation was all over the media, and days, weeks, and months after that were very difficult for the former referee, who said he found it hard to accept doing what he never did.
Though he initially contemplated quitting as referee almost immediately, Clattenburg had a rethink due to his financial needs, which included a mortgage he was paying at the time.
The decision to stay on with his refereeing duties turned out to be wise as Clattenburg went on to handle both the UEFA Champions League 2016 and Euro 2016 final matches.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...