Prospect: Mikel deserved longer suspension

Mark Clattenburg and John Obi MikelProspect has criticized the FA’s three-match ban on Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel for threatening Mark Clattenburg, the referee’s union regarding it too lenient.

Believing he had been racially insulted by Clattenburg, the Nigerian international confronted the Premier League referee after the Blues’ defeat to Manchester United on 29th October, hurling a string of expletive-laden threats at him, the Mirror reports.

While the Gosforth official was cleared of any wrongdoing, Mikel was punished by the FA and fined £60,000 on Thursday, but Prospect insist the suspension is not enough.

A statement said: “Prospect, the referees trade union, today expressed dismay at the lenient punishment handed down to John Obi Mikel.

“For entering the dressing room and threatenting and intimidating the referee the penalty was no longer than for serious foul play.

“It is vital that officials are given real respect and this decision regrettably gave entirely the wrong message.”

The FA revealed on Thursday that the ban would have been “significantly longer” had Mikel not claimed that he had been insulted.

But Prospect national secretary Alan Leighton expressed that “far too much weight had been given to the mitigating factor and that Mikel’s behaviour merited a strong deterrent penalty”.

Mikel, who signed a new five-year deal this week, will commence his ban immediately, meaning he is unavailable for Chelsea’s trip to Sunderland this weekend.

He will, however, be eligible for the FIFA Club World Cup and will travel out to Japan with the Blues next week.