Former Nigerian international and Chelsea icon, John Obi Mikel has said he won’t apologise to ex-Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg over the 2012 racism row.
During the Blues’ 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, Mikel Obi’s teammate at the time, Ramires, claimed he heard a racist slur aimed at the Nigerian from Clattenburg.
Ramires claimed he heard Clattenburg say “shut up you, monkey”.
The allegations saw Clattenburg miss four weekends of Premier League fixtures, before he was cleared by the Football Association.
The police also dropped their own inquiry.
However, speaking to The Athletic, Mikel Obi said: “In the heat of the game, players go through emotions.
“Your colleague said they heard something, but they may not have heard right. Did he say it or not? I didn’t know.
“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 apologise for something that my colleague said he (Clattenburg) did.”
The FA investigation, upon clearing Clattenburg, charged Mikel with misconduct. He was banned for three matches and fined £60,000.
In a statement given after he was cleared, Clattenburg said, “I’m looking forward to putting this behind me and concentrating on refereeing in the Premier League and other competitions.
“The messages of encouragement from those inside and outside of the game have helped me through the most stressful time of my professional life.
“To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.”