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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 24, 2009

Chelsea star Mikel banned from driving

Chelsea footballer John Mikel Obi has been banned from the roads for 15 months after he admitted to drink driving.

Mikel, 21, was found to be almost twice the limit when stopped by police in his black Range Roger in Fulham Road, west London, on January 24.

District Judge Jeremy Coleman banned him from driving for 15 months and ordered him to pay £1,580 at West London Magistrates' Court.

Mikel, who appeared in the dock wearing an Armani navy blue sweater, looked stumped as he was ordered to stop driving.

His solicitor said he would not undertake a drink driving course to shorten the ban because he ''would just like to serve it out''.

Mikel had been out to dinner and drunk between four and five glasses of wine after watching his team play at Stamford Bridge, the court heard.

Prosecutor Fubhanur Chowdhury said he was stopped by a police patrol after officers saw him driving quickly and thought it was suspicious.

He said: ''Mr Mikel was stopped at 5.15am in the early morning in Fulham.

''The reason he was stopped is he was driving at speed. The officers became suspicious of the manner in which he was driving.

''They could smell alcohol on his breath. There were three attempts to provide a sample and the result was positive. He was arrested and taken to Fulham Police Station.''

Mikel was found to have 66 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the court heard. This is nearly twice the legal limit.

A second charge of driving without a proper licence was withdrawn after it was disclosed the Nigerian international held a valid international licence.

The £40,000-a-week midfielder, who lives in Esher, Surrey, was accompanied in court by his agent and several friends.

His solicitor Neil Shestopal said Mikel was normally driven home by a friend, named Sammy, but on this occasion the friend was called away by his girlfriend.

The court heard Mikel began driving in Knightsbridge after his friend drove him there to pick up his own car.

Mr Shestopal disputed that his client was responsible for the fast driving and said this may have been Sammy, as they were driving in convoy.

He said: "My client took his car. Sammy followed him a short distance and that is when the incident occurred.

"In any event I am instructed that the total consumption of alcohol for the whole day, as opposed to the particular evening, was four to five glasses of wine alone.

"It was very unfortunate. The intention was that my client would have been driven all the way, a regular arrangement, and this was a very unfortunate incident for which my client is deeply apologetic.

"He is not an irresponsible driver and apologises to the court for this really very deeply indeed.

"He drives approximately 5,000 miles a year, mainly work related, to and from the training ground."

The judge said: "This was quite a high reading. Almost double the legal limit. I must take that into account.

"I take into account everything that has been said on your behalf. For the offence I fine you £1,500. You must pay £65 costs and £15 victim income surcharge. That makes a total of £1,580.

"As far as disqualification is concerned, based on your reading I disqualify you from driving any vehicle on the road in this country for 15 months."

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