John Obi Mikel. Photo Reuters
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been given a
three-match ban and a 60,000 pound fine after admitting a
charge of using threatening or abusive language towards referee
Mark Clattenburg after a home defeat by Manchester United in
The Football Association said 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
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
"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. ($1 = 0.6219 British pounds)