CHELSEA striker Didier Drogba was last night hit with a huge six-match European ban for his expletive-laden remonstration following last season’s Champions League exit to Barcelona.
Defender Jose Bosingwa also received a four-match ban for comments about the referee while Chelsea were handed an £85,000 fine, as governing body Uefa threw the book at the Premier League club.
Two games of Drogba’s ban are suspended for two years, depending on good behaviour, while one game of Bosingwa’s ban is suspended. Chelsea were last night considering their response but may appeal.
Drogba marched onto the pitch and bellowed “it’s a f****** disgrace” into a television camera after the controversial Champions League semi-final defeat last month.
Bosingwa, meanwhile, called referee Tom Henning Ovrebo “a thief” in a post-match interview. The Norwegian official turned down several Chelsea penalty appeals in a second leg decided by Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta’s stoppage time strike.
Chelsea were fined for the improper conduct of their players and for objects thrown from the crowd. The club, which has qualified for next season’s Champions League group stage, has two days to appeal.
A Uefa statement read: “Drogba and Bosingwa were facing charges of being in breach of the principles of sportsmanship by insulting the referee by making offensive comments.”
The punishment meted out to Drogba, Bosingwa and Chelsea was harsher than expected but a Uefa spokesman last night defended the decision. He said: “We have to set certain standards. The players are key to that, in setting a good example both on and off the pitch.”
Drogba made a prompt and public apology following his outburst, which came at the final whistle of the 1-1 draw that condemned Chelsea to elimination on away goals. The Ivory Coast international, 31, also pleaded guilty in written submissions to Uefa.
Meanwhile Andrea Pirlo admits he could leave AC Milan for Chelsea. The Italy midfielder said: “I’ve been at Milan a long time and maybe it’s time for a new chapter in my career.”