Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has had his three-match ban following a red card offence in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Burnley reduced to two games after an independent regulatory commission ruled the Serbia international's dismissal for violent conduct warranted a less severe punishment.
The 26-year-old's suspension will still be served with immediate effect, meaning that he'll miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final clash against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, but will now be available for selection when the Blues take on Southampton at Stamford Bridge on March 15.
Chairman of the Regulatory Commission, Roger Burden explained the committee's decision by stating on the Football Association's website: "In reaching this decision the members of the Regulatory Commission rejected the mitigation advanced by Nemanja Matic in respect of the provocation and tackle he received which led to his act of violent conduct.
"The violent response of Mr. Matic to the nature of the tackle cannot be condoned and does not vindicate his subsequent actions. The members of the Commission did, however, accept the mitigation in respect of the level of force used by Mr. Matic and the nature of the contact he made with Mr. Barnes of Burnley FC.
"Having made those considerations we determined that the standard punishment of a three-match suspension would be clearly excessive and, therefore, ordered that the suspension be reduced to two matches."
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Despite the favourable decision that will see Matic serve a shorter suspension, Chelsea still responded with a statement to detail their extreme disappointment and frustration, claiming they are appalled with the conclusion of the investigation after citing their belief that the player should have the red card completely rescinded.
"There has been universal condemnation of the reckless challenge made by Ashley Barnes on Matic and it is the club's view that he has been unjustly punished with a two-match ban for his reaction to a career-threatening tackle," read the statement on Chelsea's official website.
"It is Chelsea's opinion that referees and the football authorities must do more to protect players at all levels of the game from dangerous challenges. This decision also clearly demonstrates a need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process."
Jose Mourinho appeared on Sky Sports flagship 'Goals on Sunday' show to further lament Martin Atkinson's decision to send Matic off against the Clarets, and called for the tackle made by Ashley Barnes to be taken into consideration before condemning his reaction.
Judging by the FA statement, that has been accounted for, but there' still no justification for the Chelsea star's aggressive action that ultimately led to his dismissal.
Chelsea fans: Are you pleased to see Nemanja Matic's ban reduced to two games? Do you think he deserved to be let off completely? Share your thoughts below….
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