Referee Mark Clattenburg has detailed the ‘frightening’ possibility of his career being ruined by John Obi Mikel’s false accusation of racism.
Clattenburg, 37, was cleared by the Football Association on Thursday of racially abusing Mikel during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea on October 28.
The FA has since charged Mikel with misconduct, specifically the use of ‘threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or near the Match Officials’ room’.
“I am looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions,” Clattenburg said in a statement.
“To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.
“However, there are processes that should be adhered in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair for all parties involved.”
Chelsea came under criticism for making the explosive accusations public in the aftermath of their controversial defeat at home to United, in which the referee harshly dismissed the hosts’ striker Fernando Torres.
“I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation,” he said.
“I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.”
Referees’ Association secretary Alan Leighton has called for Chelsea to publicly apologise for the false accusations, and provide Clattenburg with compensation for ‘loss of earnings, damage to his reputations and stress’.
While the club has accepted the FA decision, they are yet to comply with demands for an act of contrition.
“Chelsea Football Club accepts the Football Association’s decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter,” Chelsea said in a statement.
“The club also notes the charge brought against John Mikel Obi. While the player does not deny the charge, he will request a personal hearing to explain the mitigating circumstances.
“We did not take the decision to lodge a formal complaint with the FA lightly and followed the correct processes and protocols throughout.
“The club carried out a thorough investigation, led by outside legal counsel, using all information available to us. As the FA makes clear, it is not uncommon for investigations to lead to no disciplinary charge being brought.”