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The highly-regarded official took charge of an ill-tempered affair between the Blues and Manchester United in 2012 which the Red Devils won 3-2.
The drama on the pitch, however, was little in comparison to what would unfold following the final whistle.
In a passage of his new book, Clattenburg has opened up for the first time about the allegation of racism made against Mikel and Mata to which he says could have "ruined his life".
During the course of the infamous match, Clattenburg sent off Chelsea pair Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres - and was also blasted for having missed an offside in the build-up to United's winning goal.
In an exclusive extract from the 46-year-old's autobiography Whistle Blower, Clattenburg tells his side of the story that made world headlines for all the wrong reasons.
"I knew to expect a tirade of abuse from Chelsea supporters, but I was not beating myself up over my performance," Clattenburg recalls.
"It was then that I heard a commotion outside the dressing-room door.
"Mikel is out of control, he’s trying to get at me. ‘I’m gonna break your legs!’ he shouts. F****** hell, he’s swinging for me.
"There are arms everywhere. I’m ducking to avoid them. A security guy is grappling with Mikel, pulling him away. That’s not easy, Mikel is strong.
"I’ve got my boots on, I’m slipping all over the place. I’m knocked backwards into some seats. I just try to defend myself. He’s still hellbent on hurting me."
Three days after the game, Chelsea made a formal complaint to the FA claiming that Clattenburg had racially abused Mikel.
Clattenburg continued: "According to Chelsea, I had said to Mikel, ‘Shut up, you monkey.’ The language disgusted me, it was damaging and fictitious.
"Back at home, locked away and struggling to sleep, obsessively going over the events of Sunday, I began to slip into a dark place. It was then that I found an unlikely friend.
"‘Mark, it’s Sir Alex Ferguson,’ came the unmistakable Glaswegian accent down the phone.
"Sir Alex did not have to make that call and he did not have to defend me in public, which he later did.
"But he did so because he believed what Chelsea were doing was wrong. He put his neck on the block, not for me, but in the name of truth and justice."
Almost a month after the game, the FA dismissed the case and Clattenburg was found not guilty, something he says he had known all along.
One year in the making but it’s here… Mark Clattenburg, My Autobiography: Whistle Blower. Serialisation tomorrow in Daily Mail & out Sept 30 (pre-order now). It’s been great fun. Full of controversy, conflict & anecdotes. He certainly hasn’t held back! @clattenburg1975 pic.twitter.com/oMlWzaNV3Z— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) September 17, 2021
"Mikel was later given a three-match ban over the incident in the referee's room and the FA explained to me they had to be careful not to be too harsh, because they did not want to deter other players from coming forward to report allegations of racism," the chapter concludes.
"Three matches? Are the FA taking the p***? He should be banned for the rest of the season, if not more."
"It felt like a ‘f*** you’ to all of those who tried to destroy me - they had failed," Clattenburg affirmed.
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