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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 11 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2005

Essien handed 2-match Euro ban

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has been handed a two-match ban by UEFA for last week's horror tackle on Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann.

The Premiership champions will discover tomorrow who they will be paired with in the last 16 of the Champions League.

And following a meeting of UEFA's control and disciplinary panel in Nyon, Essien now knows he will miss both home and away legs of the Blues' next European clash.

The Ghana international has been punished for a studs-first lunge on Hamann, catching the midfielder just below the knee as Liverpool held Chelsea to a goalless draw in their final Group G match at Stamford Bridge.

Hamann later described the challenge as the worst he had suffered in his career, which went unnoticed by German official Herbert Fandel.

That led to UEFA studying video evidence of the incident, while FIFA president Sepp Blatter demanded action be taken after he also viewed the tackle.

UEFA promptly issued a charge of gross unsporting conduct against the 23-year-old, who attempted to diffuse the situation by apologising to Hamann, insisting the challenge 'was accidental and that there was no malicious intent.'

Essien, who escaped disciplinary action earlier this season following a similar tackle on Bolton's Tal Ben Haim, has since stated he is 'not a violent player.'

The Football Association were unable to act on that occasion as Essien was cautioned by referee Rob Styles in a game Chelsea won 5-1 in mid-October.

In this instance, UEFA stepped in as no action was taken at the time by the officials, although Essien made a point at the weekend he does 'not agree with re-refereeing a game after it has happened.'