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24 Mar, 2021 11:35

Former Chelsea ace reignites racism row by refusing to apologize to ex-Premier League referee

Former Chelsea ace reignites racism row by refusing to apologize to ex-Premier League referee

Former Nigerian international John Obi Mikel has stated that he will still not apologize to ex-Premier League Referee Mark Clattenburg after a heated incident all the way back in 2012.

The events in question occurred when Chelsea midfielder Ramires accused Clatterburg of calling teammate Mikel a “monkey" during a 3-2 loss to Manchester United.

Speaking to the Athletic recently, Mikel said that even though he didn’t hear the slur being said, he still trusts his teammate’s accusation.

The incident inspired an aggressive confrontation between Mikel and the referee which led to a three-game ban and a £60,000 fine for the Nigerian.


Clattenburg missed four weekends of Premier League fixtures, before an FA investigation later cleared him of all allegations.

All these years later, though, Mikel said that he still trusts Ramires’ word, and for that reason he will not apologize.

“Did he say it or not? I didn’t know,” Mikel explained of his stance. “But if your colleague comes up to you, of course you’re going to trust what they say, someone you see and speak to every day.

“So I can’t apologize for something that my colleague said he [Clattenburg] did.”


Although Mikel stands by his initial belief, he did accept that, in the heat of the moment, he did truly lose his temper.

The game itself certainly played a part in that. Clattenburg had sent off Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, before allowing Javier Hernandez’s winner for United to stand, despite the forward scoring from an offside position.

So when Ramires claimed Clattenburg told him to “shut up you, monkey” it all became too much for Mikel.

“I lost it, I was so angry. We’d lost the game as well. There were a few decisions he’d given that cost us the game. Everything just boiled up. That was it. I wanted to confront him, find out if he did say that word. I wasn’t really allowed to speak to him, he didn’t want to.

“It was crazy in the tunnel. I don’t think anyone at the club had seen me like that before. I had lots of people trying to hold me back… the players, the club. Everyone came out. It was a case of, ‘Try and stop me’. I wanted to break down that door to the referee’s room and ask him questions. I was livid.”

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