Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic picked up a massive eight-game ban stemming from pushing referee Chris Kavanagh. The incident happened during Fulham’s FA Cup loss at Manchester United. In response to Willian and his manager picking up red cards, the Serbian pushed Kavanagh while yelling at the referee. At the first sign of physical contact, Kavanagh brandished a straight red card.
Mitrovic did already serve the ban on one of these eight games. He was out of Fulham’s loss at relegation candidates Bournemouth at the weekend. Fulham’s next games are mostly against other sides in the fight at the bottom of the table. That includes Leeds, West Ham, Everton and Leicester. There are also contests against Manchester City, Aston Villa and Liverpool.
Mitrovic’s absence will be felt, particularly because he leads the team in goals in league play with 11. However, many of those came at the beginning of the season. In fact, he has not scored in a league game since January 3, the only goal in a win over Leicester. Willian also faces a suspension for his direct red card in blocking a goal-scoring opportunity with his hand.
Mitrovic ban is one of longest in Premier League history
The eight-game ban for Mitrovic rules him out until the middle of May against Southampton. By that time, there will only be three games remaining in the season. The ban is fewer than only a handful of other suspensions. For example, Luis Suarez picked up a ban of the same length after racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Other suspensions based on pushing and shoving the referee can be just as long. David Prutton picked up a 10-game ban for pushing a referee in 2005. Paulo di Canio also shoved an official in 1998, and he got an 11-game suspension.
Meanwhile, the FA, who find the decision too lenient, want to appeal the decision made by the independent commission. If the FA wins its appeal, Mitrovic could be suspended for even more games. The Guardian reports the ban could rise to 10 games, which means he wouldn’t play until next season.
“Our current intention is to appeal both sanctions,” said an FA statement. “However we will await the written reasons before confirming our final position.”
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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