Chelsea captain Reece James has been handed a one-match suspension and a £90,000 fine after admitting to the charge of using “abusive language and behaviour” towards a match referee. The incident occurred after Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa last month.
James did not actually participate in the match due to a hamstring injury, but he approached referee Jarred Gillett after the match, leading to the subsequent charges. The FA statement reads:
“Reece James has been given a one-match suspension and £90,000 fine for breaching FA Rule E3 at Chelsea’s Premier League match against Aston Villa on Sunday 24 September.
“The defender admitted that he used improper, insulting and abusive words and behaviour towards a match official in the tunnel after the final whistle.
“An independent Regulatory Commission imposed these sanctions following a hearing, and its written reasons for them will be published at the earliest opportunity.”
-Source: FA Spokesperson
The timing of the suspension aligns with Chelsea’s trip to Burnley this Saturday, which James was set to miss already due to the aforementioned injury still lingering on. In fact, the captain isn’t expected back until after the upcoming international break.
In his absence, Malo Gusto had been filling in at right back. However, Gusto himself is still suspended after being shown a straight red card — also in that match against Aston Villa! — and subsequently receiving a three-game ban. This likely means we will continue to see Marc Cucurella deputizing at the position, just as he had against Brighton and Fulham.