The referees trade union, Prospect, has revealed its dismay at the "leniency" of a three-game ban handed to John Obi Mikel after he confronted Mark Clattenburg following Chelsea's stormy Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United in October.

A Football Association independent regulatory commission on Thursday handed down Mikel's ban, which included a £60,000 fine, after the Chelsea midfielder admitted the charge. In a statement the FA revealed the sanction would have been "significantly longer" but for the fact Mikel had believed he had been racially abused by Clattenburg.

A strongly-worded statement from Prospect, however, criticised the length of Mikel's ban, which rules him out of domestic duty until Boxing Day. "Prospect, the referees trade union, today expressed dismay at the lenient punishment handed down by the FA Regulatory Commission to Chelsea player John Obi Mikel," the statement read.

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