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Sunday 10 December 2017

Chelsea fury over Matic two game ban

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, second right, was sent off against Burnley last Saturday
Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, second right, was sent off against Burnley last Saturday

Chelsea will wait for the Football Association's written reasons for reducing Nemanja Matic's suspension by just one match before deciding their next course of action.

The Blues released a statement on Tuesday evening condemning the decision to enforce a two-game suspension on Matic, who was sent off in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Burnley over the weekend.

The Serbian reacted furiously to a late challenge from Ashley Barnes, getting up after being caught high on the shin and shoving the Burnley striker to the ground to be given a straight red card at Stamford Bridge.

While the FA announced that Barnes would face no retrospective disciplinary action for his part in the incident, the governing body's independent regulatory commission opted to lower Matic's three-game ban by one match on appeal.

But that was not enough to placate Chelsea, who claimed their 26-year-old midfielder had been "unjustly punished".

"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,'' a statement posted on the Blues' website, headlined 'Chelsea FC appalled with the FA's decision on Matic', read.

"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."

Matic will miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Tottenham and next Wednesday's Premier League encounter at West Ham.

The defensive midfielder will be available for Chelsea's Champions League last-16 return leg against Paris St Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 11 and could return to domestic duty four days later as the league leaders host Southampton.

The FA's decision not to rescind Matic's red card is likely to irk Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who defended Matic's reaction and branded Barnes' challenge as "criminal" while appearing on Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday programme.

Mourinho's comments prompted Burnley manager Sean Dyche to defend his player in an interview aired on Burnley TV on Monday night.

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