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Mark Clattenburg Has "No Respect" For John Obi Mikel After 2012 Racism Accusations

Mark Clattenburg Has "No Respect" For John Obi Mikel After 2012 Racism Accusations
By Mikey Traynor
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Since leaving his role as a Premier League referee to become Head of Refereeing for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, we've seen a lot more of Mark Clattenburg on TV as he has offered his knowledge to the likes of BT Sport to call upon for any contentious calls or decisions that pop up in their regular coverage.

This has resulted in many a football fan being caught off-guard by hearing his voice, but much like Howard Webb it seems that the value given to the opinion of a respected ref means they, like former footballers, can get TV work if they desire.

Further evidence of this is that Clattenburg is in Norway to work for TV 2 on their Premier League coverage this weekend, and in advance of the live show he has also participated in a documentary about his career and involvement in the top flight of English football.

It was here that he was asked to reflect on an accusation of racism made by John Obi Mikel and Chelsea back in 2013. After the Blues lost to Manchester United in a match where Mikel was sent off, Chelsea took Clattenburg to court claiming that he had made a racist remark to the Nigerian international, and also called Juan Mata a 'Spanish fucker'.


The referee was acquitted, but he is still deeply upset by the situation and admits he has no respect for John Obi Mikel for what he claimed.

I have refereed him since, for Nigeria, and I have no respect for the man today.

That event in 2012 affected not only my career but my whole family and everything else as well. That's something I can not accept.

It was a complete shock and a surreal moment. Afterwards I could not understand it. I could not grasp it. If I had insulted you in a fight, I'm sure you'd have grabbed me there and then. And if something had happened regarding racism, which is a huge topic in football, I'm sure someone would react. It did not happen in this match. I can not find anything that at all suggests that I did something wrong.

It was reported that Mikel came into the dressing room together with parts of the coaching staff, and I was close to being attacked. It was a difficult moment, because everyone was in shock. That's what happens at grassroots level, but not something I've experienced at the top level.

When I arrived at Heathrow Airport one hour after the match, my phone went crazy. I spoke to some of my closest friends who said there was news on Sky Sports that said I was accused of being racist to Jon Obi Mikel and for insulting Juan Mata. People seem to have forgotten about that last part.

My wife called and cried in the phone. She said there were journalists, media and cameras around the house. We had no security around the house, and she was alone with the television teams knocking on the door.

The next few weeks were incredibly difficult. I was accused immediately, and once such a thing happens in the English culture you are automatically guilty. You must prove your innocence. I was worried for a few days, because even though I knew I had not done that, you start to doubt your judgment when accused of something. I thought, "did I say that?", "Did I say that?"

Three weeks later they presented their charges and they could not tell what moment in the match it was. It was one of the most frustrating things that they could not tell me what moment in the match it was. It was confusing, because if I had used racist comments, they would know if it was in the first or second half and in what situation it was.

It was one of the most difficult challenges, to come back from something like that. Bruce Buck and Chelsea Board never apologised to me for bring the charges against me.

He certainly has a point about being guilty until proven innocent, as the media storm that followed the initial accusations painted Clattenburg in a very negative light before he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Rumours then spread that Mikel - who now plays for Chinese side Tianjin TEDA - had burst into the changing room after the final whistle to confront Clattenburg based on what he had been told by teammate Ramires, which would explain why Mikel did not react initially.


It was a very messy situation, and it's one that Mark Clattenburg still feels strongly about to this day.

[via TV 2]

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