Former EPL referee Mark Clattenburg has revealed how his encounter with former Super Eagles Captain and Chelsea star John Obi Mikel almost fast-tracked his decision to quit the job.
Clattenburg in his Autobiography said ‘I fell out of love with the game after Mikel incident’
The said incident happened in October 2012 when he was accused of using racial abuse against the Nigerian international.
The club made a formal complaint to the FA against Clattenburg about his alleged use of “inappropriate language” towards the player during a match against Manchester United 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.
“To be accused of something that you haven’t done is really difficult to deal with,” Clattenburg said.
“To be found guilty of something before you’d even had the chance to speak is really difficult to deal with because I’ve always believed that you should be innocent until proven guilty.
“However that wasn’t the case and I didn’t want to come back and referee at that point because unfortunately I fell out of love with the game.
“But I had a mortgage to pay, a family to look after, and therefore I had to go back to refereeing. I was lucky that over the years I fell back in love with football and it made me achieve what I actually did.”
Clattenburg’s new book Whistle Blower: My Autobiography is due for release on September 30.
Clattenburg refereed at England’s highest level for 13 years and was widely considered one of the best European referees in that time.
As well as his 297 Premier League matches, Clattenburg also took charge of a number of high-profile matches across the globe, including the 2016 Champions League final and Euro 2016 final.
Mikel who made 249 appearances for Chelsea in a career spanning over a decade in July this year cancelled his contract with Championship side Stoke and moved over to Kuwait Sporting Club.
Mazi Akuma Chibuike reporting, Obinwannem News writer / September 17, 2021