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Wed Apr 23 16:35:37 SAST 2014

Mikel shuts Twitter account after racist abuse

Sapa-AFP | 21 September, 2012 07:550 Comments
Chelsea v Juventus FC - UEFA Champions League
Claudio Marchisio of Juventus tackles John Obi Mikel of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Chelsea’s Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel was forced to close his Twitter account on Thursday after suffering a barrage of racist abuse prompted by his costly mistake against Juventus.

Mikel removed his profile from the micro-blogging website less than 24 hours after his blunder contributed to Juventus’s late equaliser as Chelsea were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in the opening match of their Champions League defence at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Chelsea originally insisted it was coincidental that Mikel had decided to delete the ’Mikel12Official’ account he only set up earlier this year.

But the European champions later admitted they had informed the police after being made aware of the unacceptable nature of the abuse Mikel had endured.

“We’ve been made aware of racist tweets targeted at Mikel which are totally unacceptable, disgusting and abhorrent,” a Chelsea statement read.

“We’ve informed the police and support taking the strongest possible action.”  Mikel gave the ball away with a careless pass 10 minutes from the final whistle and Juventus took advantage as Claudio Marchisio played in Fabio Quagliarella for the equaliser.

The 25-year-old apologised immediately afterwards, saying: “If I want to make up an excuse, I can. But, for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on.

“I’m sorry about the mistake, but there are no excuses.” 

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