Chelsea’s Mikel Suspended for Three Matches for Abusing Referee

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel was suspended for three matches and fined 60,000 pounds ($96,000) for abusing referee Mark Clattenburg after the Blues’ 3-2 home loss to Manchester United.

The player admitted the charge and told England’s Football Association that he approached Clattenburg in the match officials’ locker room after the Oct. 28 game because he thought the referee had racially abused him, the F.A. said today on its website.

Chelsea reported the referee’s alleged remark to the F.A. after the match, and last month Clattenburg was cleared. The F.A. then charged Mikel with the threatening behavior.

“The Regulatory Commission’s independent chairman Christopher Quinlan emphasised that the Independent Regulatory Commission accepted, as did the F.A., that at the time he threatened the referee the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him,” the F.A. said today. “But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer.”

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