Dembele handed six-game ban despite Spurs appeal

Date published: Friday 6th May 2016 4:58

Mousa Dembele: Banned for six games for Diego Costa incident

Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele has been banned for six matches after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct.

Dembele appeared to claw his fingers down Diego Costa’s cheek during Spurs’ 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Monday night.

The Belgian had until 6pm on Thursday to respond but he did not contest the charge, head coach Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday afternoon.

And the full extent of Dembele’s sanction followed from the FA.

A statement from the FA read: “Mousa Dembele will serve a six-match suspension with immediate effect after he committed an act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.”

The FA, when charging Dembele, had said it considered the incident to be serious enough that “the standard punishment of three matches would be clearly insufficient”.

And now Dembele will miss Spurs’ remaining matches this Premier League season – at home to Southampton on Sunday and at Newcastle a week later – and the first four fixtures of next term.

The FA statement added: “The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder accepted the charge but denied the FA’s claim that the standard punishment of three matches which would otherwise apply to this offence was clearly insufficient.

“An independent regulatory commission upheld the FA’s claim at a hearing today (Friday, May 6, 2016) and ordered that an additional three match suspension was appropriate.”

Pochettino, speaking prior to the punishment being announced, declined to comment on the potential length of a ban. He said he had spoken to Dembele about the altercation.

The midfielder’s clash with Costa was one of several ugly exchanges during the game at Stamford Bridge and both clubs have been charged by the FA for failing to control their players. They have until May 9 at 6pm to respond.

Tottenham needed a win at Stamford Bridge to have any hope of winning the title, but the draw saw Leicester take an unassailable lead and crowned champions.

Four of Tottenham’s nine yellow cards – an offence which carries an automatic fine – came after Eden Hazard’s equalising goal.

Pochettino admitted his team “crossed the line” but said he could understand their behaviour given the pressure of the title race.

“I think even if you play sometimes football with your friends, if you play for the honour, for the beers, or for the sandwiches, you want to win,” Pochettino said.

“When you run and you go for the title, it is difficult sometimes to keep calm. I feel very proud of my players. I think we showed big character.

“Sometimes we crossed the line and if you cross the line you need to pay. We know the rules but I think it is a good lesson for us.

“We need to learn a lot and I am sure we will be stronger next season.”

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