Former Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg, has claimed allegations made by former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, almost made him quit.
Clattenburg revealed this in his autobiography, saying “I fell out of love with the game after Mikel incident”.
The incident took place in October 2012, when he was accused of using racial abuse against the Nigerian midfielder, who was playing for Chelsea at the time.
The Blues made a formal complaint to the FA against Clattenburg about his alleged use of “inappropriate language” towards the player during a match against Manchester United with a police investigation also launched.
And although the FA cleared Clattenburg of wrongdoing and the police investigation was also subsequently dropped, Clattenburg felt he was treated unfairly throughout the ordeal.
“To be accused of something that you haven’t done is really difficult to deal with,” Clattenburg said.
“To be found guilty of something before you’d even had the chance to speak is really difficult to deal with because I’ve always believed that you should be innocent until proven guilty.
“However that wasn’t the case and I didn’t want to come back and referee at that point because unfortunately I fell out of love with the game.
“But I had a mortgage to pay, a family to look after, and therefore I had to go back to refereeing. I was lucky that over the years I fell back in love with football and it made me achieve what I actually did.”
Clattenburg’s new book Whistle Blower: My Autobiography is due for release on September 30.