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John Obi Mikel banned three matches

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Clive Rose

It's not been a great 24 hours for Chelsea. The Blues were knocked out of the Champions League despite a 6-1 win at home against Nordsjaelland on Wednesday, and now they find out that they'll be missing one of their more consistent performers for the next three games:

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 6 December 2012].

-Source: TheFA.com

Mikel, of course, has been banned for the verbal abuse of Mark Clattenburg in the aftermath of that match against Manchester United (watch this get reported as being for false racism allegations). I wasn't expecting three matches, but so it goes. The defence employed by the midfielder was claiming extenuating circumstances in that he'd just been told that the referee had called him a 'monkey', but the FA clearly weren't buying that one and we'll have to learn to live with Oriol Romeu for a while.

It's good practice for January, at any rate -- Mikel will be out on Africa Cup of Nations duty for most of next month. I doubt that there'll be an appeal in this case, so it looks like he'll be missing Sunderland away this weekend, Leeds away in the League Cup, and the home match against Aston Villa.