Nemanja Matic's ban reduced to two games but Chelsea still furious
Last Updated: 25/02/15 12:07pm
Nemanja Matic's three-match ban for violent conduct has been reduced to two games - but his club Chelsea are furious.
The midfielder was dismissed for violent conduct during the game against Burnley on 21 February following his push on Ashley Barnes.
That incident was preceded by a robust challenge from Barnes on Matic, which Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho argued could have ended his player's career.
Barnes was subsequently cleared by the FA, and Chelsea appealed against the ban.
The three-match suspension has been cut by one game but Matic will still miss the Capital One Cup final with Tottenham and Chelsea are adamant the punishment is wrong.
It is Chelsea’s opinion that referees and the football authorities must do more to protect players at all levels of the game from dangerous challenges. This decision also clearly demonstrates a need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process.
In a statement on the club's website - headlined 'Chelsea appalled with the FA's decision on Matic' - Chelsea said: "The Chelsea Football Club Board is extremely disappointed and frustrated that the FA Regulatory Commission has today decided not to reduce Nemanja Matic’s suspension to the maximum extent permitted under FA rules.
"Chelsea FC challenged the standard three-match suspension which automatically followed the red card issued to Matic by referee Martin Atkinson during Saturday’s Premier League match against Burnley.
"There has been universal condemnation of the reckless challenge made by Ashley Barnes on Matic and it is the club’s view that he has been unjustly punished with a two-match ban for his reaction to a career-threatening tackle.
"It is Chelsea’s opinion that referees and the football authorities must do more to protect players at all levels of the game from dangerous challenges. This decision also clearly demonstrates a need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process.
"The club awaits the FA’s written reasons, prior to commenting further."
A statement on the FA's website read: “An appeal by Chelsea that the three-match suspension for Nemanja Matic is excessive has been upheld by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today (Tuesday 24 February 2015).
"The player was dismissed for violent conduct during the game against Burnley on Saturday 21 February 2015.
"The Regulatory Commission has reduced the Chelsea midfielder's suspension to two matches, to be served with immediate effect."
Matic will miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Tottenham and next Wednesday's Premier League encounter at West Ham.
Mourinho took to the Goals on Sunday sofa to express his outrage over the incident.
He said: “Matic is a very lucky guy because it could have been the end of his career. I don’t know but I think so.
“I cannot find the words to describe what the player (Barnes) did and I can clearly understand because football is about emotions and sometimes you lose the emotions.
“Clearly Matic had a reason to lose his emotions. What could be the consequence of Matic’s push for the other player? Nothing. One second later he stands. The consequence for Matic could have been the end of his career.”