Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg is considered one of the most highly-rated European referees of his generation, having refereed several notable matches, including the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final and the UEFA Euro 2016 Final
But Clattenburg has come out to state that he’s still annoyed that former Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi wrongly accused him of making a racist comment in 2012 and nearly had his reputation tarnished.
Mikel claimed the Consett-born match official directed a racist comment towards him during a league match against Manchester United calling him a “monkey”.
The FA cleared Clattenburg of any wrongdoing while the referee’s union demanded a full apology, compensation, and a donation to an anti-racism charity from Chelsea.
A few Chelsea players apologised to Clattenburg but not Mikel, leaving the 45-year-old with a bad feeling that still lingers today.
Still disappointed with the conduct of the former Super Eagles skipper, Clattenburg, named Mikel among the five most annoying players he’s officiated.
“I have picked Mikel because of the incident during a Chelsea v Manchester United match in 2012 when he accused me of making a racist comment, which was not right and I was later cleared by the FA,” Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail.
“He has never apologised, and that is disappointing because it could have ruined my life. I fell out of love with refereeing for a while after that but couldn’t quit because I had a family to support and no other career to pursue.
“Mikel only heard the allegation from his teammate Ramires, who did not speak English. Other Chelsea players have since apologised but nothing from Mikel.
“He had the chance to say sorry and speak to me about it during a Nigeria friendly in the United States before the World Cup in 2014, and I would have welcomed that, but nothing, sadly.”
The other four players who are equally annoying to officiate according to Clattenburg includes Portugal’s Pepe, Craig Bellamy, Roy Keane, and Jens Lehmann.