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Mikel handed three-match-ban for threatening ref

GUILTY & INNOCENT: The FA has charged Mikel, left, and cleared Clattenburg

CHELSEA WILL have to make do without John Obi Mikel for three games after the FA gave the player a £60,000 fine and triple-match-ban. The reprimand was due to Mikel being found guilty of acting in a threatening manner toward referee Mark Clattenburg after Chelsea’s 3-2 Premier League home defeat to Manchester United on October 28.

The 25-year-old Nigerian international admitted to the charge in a personal hearing yesterday (December 6), furthermore the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission acknowledged Mikel was under the impression that Clattenburg had racially abused him during the match.

This mitigating circumstance ensured the midfielder’s reprimand was not more severe. “But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer,” read a statement from the FA.

Clattenburg, 37, was cleared of any wrongdoing last month.

Referees’ union, Prospect expressed its disappointment with Mikel’s “lenient” punishment.

“It is vital that officials were given real respect and this decision regrettably gave entirely the wrong message. A player in parks football found guilty of behaviour like Mikel's would have faced a long-term ban.

The incident arose due to Chelsea team-mate Ramires telling Mikel he had been the target of a racial slur from the County Durham-based referee.

The incident was also reported to Metropolitan Police by Society of Black Lawyer’s Peter Herbert, who lambasted the FA and Chelsea’s handling of the case. Police had to drop their case due to no victims or witnesses coming forward.

Chelsea recently expressed their “regret” over how they reported the incident, which resulted in Clattenburg missing four weekends of league matches. The west London club refused to offer an outright apology, a decision also criticised by Prospect.

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