Eight game ban for Fulham’s Mitrovic for pushing ref

April 5 – Fulham’s Serbian international striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been handed an eight-game ban by the English Football Association for grabbing the referee in the FA Cup quarterfinals against Manchester United last month.

Mitrovic was shown a straight red card after pushing and remonstrating aggressively in the face of referee Chris Kavanagh, who had just given United a penalty and sent off Fulham winger Willian for a handball.

Fulham had led 1-0 before the penalty was awarded, but went on to lose 3-1 after going down to nine men in the match on March 19.

The FA said Mitrovic’s suspension, which was decided by an independent regulatory commission, consists of a standard three-match ban which has been extended by three games for violent conduct toward a match official and another two for using language that was “improper, abusive, insulting and threatening.”

Mitrovic was also given a fine of £75,000. Having already missed one game, he will now be unavailable for Fulham’s next seven matches.

Manager Marco Silva, whose own dismissal alongside that of Willian led to Mitrovic’s angry reaction, was also punished by the independent commission.

Silva admitted to using abusive and insulting words or behaviour toward Kavanagh and the fourth official but denied throwing a water bottle toward the assistant referee. He was fined a total of £40,000 and given a two-game touchline ban.

An additional £40,000 fine was issued to Fulham for failing to control its players.

The FA said its intention is to appeal against both sanctions, in the hopes of a more severe punishment, but will wait for the written reasons behind the sanctions to be published by the independent commission before making a final decision.

Mitrovic is Fulham’s top scorer with 12 goals this season. He will not be available again until the final three games of the season.

“On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off,” Mitrovic said in an apology to teammates and Fulham’s supporters soon after the incident. “I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong.”

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