Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has had his suspension reduced from three to two matches today, as announced by the FA.
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Matic was sent off following his reaction to a harsh tackle from Ashley Barnes in Chelsea’s match against Burnley over the weekend. With the Blues down to ten-men, Burnley equalized and stole a draw from Stamford Bridge.
While Barnes’ original challenge was extremely dangerous and should have warranted a straight red card itself, the Burnley player will not be charged for his actions.
Here’s part of the statement released by the FA:
The violent response of Mr. Matic to the nature of the tackle cannot be condoned and does not vindicate his subsequent actions. The members of the Commission did, however, accept the mitigation in respect of the level of force used by Mr. Matic and the nature of the contact he made with Mr. Barnes of Burnley FC.
Having made those considerations we determined that the standard punishment of a three-match suspension would be clearly excessive and, therefore, ordered that the suspension be reduced to two matches.”
With the reduced ban, Matic will miss Chelsea’s upcoming Capital One Cup final match against Tottenham, as well as a Premier League match against West Ham.
Despite getting the ban reduced, the club was still not happy with how the matter was handled. Chelsea released its own statement, in which the club said it was “appalled” with the FA’s decision.
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.