The referees’ union, Prospect, has complained that the three match ban handed to Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel for threatening and intimidating Mark Clattenburg is no longer than the suspension given for a straight red card, the
Mikel angrily confronted Clattenburg following Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United in October, believing the referee had made a racially-motivated comment. It was later found that Clattenburg had done no such thing and the official was cleared of all allegations made, but at the time, Mikel was incensed and burst in to the referee’s room.
The Football Association revealed that the ban for Mikel would have been “significantly longer” if the Nigerian was not of the firm belief that he had been racially abused, the Mirror adds. As well as the three-game suspension, Mikel has been fined £60,000.
However, Prospect have released a statement condemning the sanction, rejecting the mitigating factor of Mikel’s incorrect understanding of what had happened. A statement read: “For entering the dressing room and threatening and intimidating the referee the penalty was no longer than for serious foul play.
“It is vital that officials are 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.”
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland v Chelsea