- Premier League
Mikel slapped with three-match ban
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel will serve a three-match ban following an incident which occurred in the official's changing room after the final whistle of Manchester United's 3-2 Premier League win at Stamford Bridge in October.
Mikel, 25, had already admitted a charge that he confronted referee Mark Clattenburg after the game at Stamford Bridge, and he will subsequently miss the games against Sunderland (A), Leeds (A) and Aston Villa (H) through suspension.
After a personal hearing on Thursday, a decision by the Independent Regulatory Commission revealed the sanction, which included a £60,000 fine, would have been "significantly longer" but for the fact Mikel had believed he had been racially abused by Clattenburg.
A statement on the FA's website read: "Chelsea's John Obi Mikel has been given a three-match suspension to begin with immediate effect and fined £60,000 following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Thursday December 6, 2012].
"Mikel had requested a personal hearing after admitting an FA charge of using threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour.
"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 October 28, 2012.
"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.
"Subsequently the FA investigated the allegation that the referee racially abused the player and found that there was not a case for him to answer."
On Thursday, Mikel signed a new contract that will keep him at Stamford Bridge for five more years.