Mark Clattenburg has listed former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi among the five most annoying players he refereed during his career as a Premier League and FIFA accredited official.
Claims were made against Clattenburg after Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge in 2012 that he had racially abused Mikel as tempers frayed during the match.
Clattenburg was later cleared of all charges and Mikel handed a three-game ban for confronting the official in his changing room.
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“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 told 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.
“It all left a bad feeling that still lingers today. Mikel only heard the allegation from his team-mate Ramires, who did not speak English. Other Chelsea players have since apologised but nothing from Mikel.”
Craig Bellamy, Roy Keane, Jens Lehman and Pepe were also named in Clattenburg’s list.