Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drogba given lengthy European ban

Didier Drogba will miss at least four European matches after being banned for his reaction to Chelsea's Champions League semi-final defeat by Barcelona.

The striker was banned for six games, with two suspended for two years.

His Blues team-mate Jose Bosingwa was banned for three European games, with a further one-match ban also suspended.

Both players were found guilty of making insulting comments to the referee by Uefa, which also handed Chelsea an £85,000 fine.

Chelsea, who have three days to appeal against the punishment, were fined for the improper conduct of their players and the throwing of missiles by their fans after the 6 May match.

A Chelsea spokesman said: "We've received the Uefa verdict and we'll now take time to assess it in full and consider our response."

The Blues went out of the tournament after a series of disputed decisions by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo.

He turned down a host of strong penalty appeals from Chelsea during the 1-1 draw in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, which saw Barca go through on away goals.

Drogba and several other players surrounded Ovrebo after the final whistle to remonstrate with the Norwegian.

The Ivorian continued his verbal attack even after being cautioned, and had to be restrained as Ovrebo went down the tunnel.

Rob Faulkner, Uefa's head of communications, told Radio 5 Live: "The actions of the players were certainly not of a sporting nature.

"Everything has been taken into account. The club will be informed officially in writing and then they have three days in which to consider whether to appeal or not."

Faulkner added it was a "fairly strict but fairly appropriate" level of punishment.

He insisted the disciplinary panel took into account the importance of the game and the fact that the match was settled in such dramatic fashion, with Andres Iniesta's injury-time goal sending Chelsea out.

But he added: "We have to set certain standards. We do have a 'Respect' campaign and the Uefa president (Michel Platini) is instrumental behind that.

"The players are key to that, in setting a good example both on and off the pitch. The club obviously has a responsibility for the way their players behave as well.

"All in all, that's the reasoning for the decision."

Drogba had stated that he would accept any punishment given to him by Uefa over his actions.

"My behaviour was not what Uefa and everyone wants to see in a football stadium," Drogba said ahead of the governing body's verdict.

"It's not easy but I think that whatever I did and the decision they take I will accept it.

"I will do my suspension and, after that, I will come back stronger."

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