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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 13, 2006

Man City's Thatcher accepts eight-game ban

Ben Thatcher has signalled a determination to put the past behind him and get on with his career after accepting the Football Association's massive eight-match ban for his disgraceful assault on Pedro Mendes.

The Manchester City defender has been ruled out of the game until the end of October following the FA's decision to increase the internal four-match suspension imposed on Thatcher by his own club.

In addition to the eight games, Thatcher has been handed a 15-match suspended sentence, which will come into effect should he commit further acts of such a serious nature within the next two years.

Although City boss Stuart Pearce had expressed the hope the FA would merely rubber-stamp the Blues' own punishment, Thatcher had decided not to pursue the matter any further and will now be confined to training again until a likely Carling Cup third- round engagement on October 24 or 25.

And, in once again offering his apologies to Mendes for the disgraceful clash, which left the Portsmouth star concussed, in hospital and requiring neurological tests before being allowed to resume his career last weekend, Thatcher added he wanted to now put the unsavoury event behind him.

'Mr Thatcher deeply regrets the incident,' said Thatcher's barrister Rupert Bowers.

'He accepted the punishment from his club; and that penalty has been increased by the FA.

'Mr Thatcher similarly accepts the FA's decision without question. He again expresses his apologies to all concerned; he now wishes to serve his suspension, put the incident behind him and continue with his career.'

The FA sentence contains no financial penalty but the stigma of the incident may be difficult to shake off for a player who found himself in trouble six years ago when he elbowed Nicky Summerbee during a Wimbledon game against Portsmouth.

City have however emerged with their reputation intact, noting the FA's willingness to incorporate their punishment within the overall ban.

'We note the findings of the disciplinary committee and are pleased the FA have taken our own disciplinary action into account,' said a club spokesman.

City will hope for better luck on Thursday when the FA look into their appeal into Ousmane Dabo's red card for catching Steve Sidwell with his elbow during Monday night's defeat by Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

If the Blues fail to overturn the red card shown by Howard Webb, Dabo will miss Sunday's trip to Blackburn, the following Wednesday's visit to Chesterfield and the Premiership encounter with West Ham on September 23.