Chelsea vs Man United is just around the corner and just before the high profile FA Cup finals clash, former English referee Mark Clattenburg has opened up about the allegations he faced while officiating a Chelsea vs Man United game back in 2012.
Clattenburg was accused of muttering a racist snipe at Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel during the Chelsea vs Man United game in October 2012 after which the referee even received death threats.
Eventually, Clattenburg was cleared of all charges but the former EPL referee has revealed that he wanted to quit the sport after the incident took place.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sport, Mark Clattenburg said:
“When I look back on the incidents in the Chelsea v Manchester United game in 2012 and the aftermath of that, I wanted to quit, but I was not in a position to do that,
“One day the whole truth will come out on what happened in that game and people will be surprised by that story. The incident on the day and what happened afterwards was not right and it left a lasting mark on me.
“It made me realise that football is not just a sport anymore. There are bigger issues around that was not a football incident. Sometimes things happen in life that make you stronger and I am probably a better referee after that incident than I was before it, but it was still a difficult situation to live through.
“At the time, I wanted to quit and the support is not there in that kind of situation, but what can you do? In refereeing, you are stuck in an industry you can’t get out of and that is a difficult place to be in.
“You can’t step away from referee once you are in it for a very good reason. I have a family, they need to be looked after. I have left my profession as an electrical engineer behind and there is nowhere to go if I walk away from refereeing.
“This is a unique job in many ways and not always for the right reason. If you are a player or a manager or even a journalist, you can always get a job somewhere else if something goes wrong, but you can’t do that in refereeing.
“Who is going to employ me in a job outside football given my profile and the like? That is why I had to take the offer to move to Saudi Arabia when it came my way, as it offered me security to my family. People sometimes forget that referees are not there for a hobby or to live out the dream of being on the pitch as it is a job at the end of the day.”
“I would drink a lot of beer at times to get away from the pressures,” he added.
“Decisions linger with you for a few days and my wife would often say move on and get over it, but you can’t.
“You avoid the TV, you avoid radio phone-ins. You don’t want anything to do with football if you have made a mistake, but the upside is when things have gone well and you can enjoy those moments.”
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