CHELSEA midfielder John Obi Mikel has been handed a three-match ban and fined £60,000 by the Football Association for threatening referee Mark Clattenburg.
Mikel admitted the charge relating to an incident in the match officials’ changing room following Chelsea’s controversial 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in October.
The Nigerian’s ban was reduced as the FA accepted Mikel believed the referee had racially abused him during the match.
“But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer,” the FA said in a statement.
The ban takes effect immediately, meaning Mikel, who signed a new five-year contract on Wednesday, is out of domestic duty for Chelsea until Boxing Day.
The 25 year-old will miss the trip to Sunderland tomorrow, a Capital One Cup tie at Leeds and a Premier League game at home to Aston Villa. However he is available to play in the World Club Cup in Japan next week.
Chelsea team-mate Ramires accused Clattenburg of racially abusing Mikel during the stormy clash with United.
Clattenburg was relieved of his duties for four weekends of Premier League matches while the police and FA investigated the accusations. They cleared the official last month after finding insufficient evidence.