Ivanovic faces ban after day of shock calls

CHELSEA defender Branislav Ivanovic is facing a three-match ban and QPR have failed in an appeal against Shaun Derry’s controversial red card after a day of surprising decisions by the Football Association.

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will also face no further action over his knee-high challenge on Arsenal’s Alex Song, meaning he could return for the derby with Manchester United later this month.

Ivanovic was yesterday charged with violent conduct over an off-the-ball incident with Wigan’s Shaun Maloney, in which he appeared to strike the Latics player in the side following a tussle. Chelsea have until 6pm today to respond to the charge, which carries a three-match ban if the Serbian is found guilty. Such a suspension would see him miss Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley, as well as Premier League fixtures against Arsenal and QPR.

QPR, were disappointed to learn their appeal against Derry’s sending-off in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at United was rejected. Relegation-threatened Rangers had vowed to protest the decision immediately after the game, with chief executive Philip Beard accusing Ashley Young of diving for the foul, which resulted in a penalty. Derry is banned for one match.

Under-fire Balotelli enjoyed some respite, however, when the FA confirmed it would not be prolonging his three-match ban for a red card at Arsenal with further action. The Italian caught Song with a studs-up challenge in the first half, leading to speculation he could be hit with a nine-game ban, but the FA said the incident would not be reviewed as the match officials had seen it.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, angry at perceived injustice in Saturday’s defeat at Chelsea, has been placated by a call from referee’s chief Mike Riley. Martinez felt both Blues goals in a 2-1 win were offside, but praised Riley’s response, calling it “a very honourable way to face mistakes”.