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FA gives Mikel three-game ban

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel will serve a three-match ban following an incident in the official's changing room after Manchester United's 3-2 Premier League win at Stamford Bridge in October.

Mikel, 25, had already admitted a charge that he confronted referee Mark Clattenburg after the game and will now miss the away fixtures at Sunderland and Leeds (in the Capital One Cup) and the home match against Aston Villa through suspension.

After Mikel had had a personal hearing on Thursday, the Independent Regulatory Commission revealed that the punishment, which included a £60,000 fine, would have been "significantly longer" but for the fact that Mikel had believed he had been racially abused by Clattenburg.

A statement on the FA's website read: "Chelsea's John Obi Mikel has been given a three-match suspension, to begin with immediate effect, and fined £60,000 following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.

"Mikel had requested a personal hearing after admitting an FA charge of using threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour.

"The breach of FA Rule E3 was in relation to an incident which occurred in the match official's changing room at the end of Chelsea's fixture against Manchester United on 28 October 2012.

"The Regulatory Commission's independent chairman, Christopher Quinlan QC, emphasised that the Independent Regulatory Commission accepted, as did the FA, that at the time he threatened the referee the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him.

"But for that factor, the suspension would have been significantly longer.

"Subsequently, the FA investigated the allegation that the referee racially abused the player and found that there was not a case for him to answer."

On Thursday, Mikel signed a new contract that will keep him at Stamford Bridge for five more years.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.