Chelsea's Mikel suspended over Clattenburg incident

LONDON Thu Dec 6, 2012 11:52pm IST

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been given a three-match ban and a 60,000 pounds fine after admitting a charge of using threatening or abusive language towards referee Mark Clattenburg after a home defeat by Manchester United in October.

The Football Association said on Thursday its Independent Regulatory Commission had found Mikel guilty of the charges relating to an incident in the official's changing room.

Chelsea had complained immediately after the controversial defeat about Clattenburg using "inappropriate language" to two of their players, one of whom was Nigerian Mikel.

The FA launched an investigation into the allegations of racist language and Clattenburg was subsequently stood down from his refereeing duties before they decided that the official had no case to answer.

Mikel's ban would have been longer, the FA said in a statement, had it not been for the player's genuine belief that he had been racially abused.

"The breach of FA Rule E3 was in relation to an incident which occurred in the match official's changing room at the end of Chelsea's fixture against Manchester United on 28 October 2012," the FA statement said.

"The Regulatory Commission's independent chairman Christopher Quinlan QC emphasised that the Independent Regulatory Commission accepted, as did The FA, that at the time he threatened the referee the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him.

"But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer."

In November the FA said the evidence for the accusation against Clattenburg had come from Mikel's Brazilian team mate Ramires. In clearing Clattenburg, the FA said:

"The details of the allegation were that following one or the other of the red cards issued during the second half of the game, Ramires heard Mark Clattenburg say to John Obi Mikel, "shut up you monkey". John Obi Mikel did not hear the alleged comment.

"Ramires, whose first language is not English, explained that his instinctive reaction was to seek confirmation from John Obi Mikel as to what the referee had said.

"John Obi Mikel, who was being spoken to by the referee, was much closer to the referee than Ramires and did not hear what it is suggested was said to him."

FIFA referee Clattenburg has now returned to his duties and Chelsea last month issued a statement expressing regret over their handling of the allegations.

Mikel will miss Premier League matches against Sunderland and Aston Villa as well as the League Cup tie against Leeds United but the ban will not effect his participation in the Club World Cup in Japan. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis)

Cricket Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage