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Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović gets eight-game ban for pushing referee

<i>Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images</i><br/>Fulham's Mitrović pushed referee Chris Kavanagh during his team's FA Cup loss against Manchester United.
Getty Images
Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images
Fulham's Mitrović pushed referee Chris Kavanagh during his team's FA Cup loss against Manchester United.

By Sammy Mncwabe and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Fulham FC striker Aleksandar Mitrović was handed an eight-game ban for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh in the team’s FA Cup loss against Manchester United, the English Football Association (FA) announced on Tuesday.

The club, Mitrović and coach Marco Silva were all sanctioned after the 3-1 loss at Old Trafford last month that saw two players and the manager sent off.

According to the FA, an Independent Regulatory Commission issued Mitrović with a three-match ban for violent conduct, despite him denying the charge. This was in addition to the three-match ban he had already received for the red card offense.

“The forward separately admitted that his behaviour and language after being sent off was improper, abusive, insulting and threatening, and the Regulatory Commission imposed an additional two-match ban and £75,000 fine [about $93,583],” the FA said.

“In total, the Regulatory Commission has suspended Aleksandar Mitrović for eight matches. One of these has already been served, and therefore the forward will be unavailable for Fulham FC’s next seven matches,” the FA added.

The FA added, “Silva admitted that he used abusive and insulting words, gestures and behaviour towards the match referee” and the Independent Regulatory Commission issued him with a “touchline ban for two games plus £20,000 [roughly $25,000] fine.”

The FA Regulatory Commission imposed an additional nearly $25,000 [£20,000] fine to Silva for “question[ing] the integrity of the match official and bring[ing] the game into disrepute.” The Regulatory Commission also imposed a nearly $50,000 [£40,000] fine to Fulham for “fail[ing] to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.”

Mitrović is one of many footballers who have been banned after falling afoul of officials: Luis Suárez famously received a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanović in 2013. Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday’s Paolo Di Canio was given an 11-match ban in 1998, after pushing a referee to the ground.

‘I regret my actions’

On Wednesday, CNN Sport was directed to a message from Mitrović and Silva after approaching Fulham for comment from the pair.

“On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off,” Mitrović said.

“I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong. I was trying to get the referee’s attention, but I appreciate that I should not have put my hands on him and I understand why he showed me a red card, my first in-game sending off for Fulham and my first since the 2015/16 season.

“I have accepted the three-match ban for my red card, I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise, and I have volunteered to accept a Club fine. I now want to do what I can to put this incident behind me and get back to helping my teammates on the pitch as soon as possible,” he added.

For his part, Silva said, “I regret what happened, and I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise. He knows that I respect him and the job he has to do. Unfortunately, we did not see eye-to-eye on the day, but I recognise that he is one of the top referees in this country and I know that, when our paths cross again, there will be mutual respect between us.”

In a statement posted on the club’s website on Tuesday, Fulham listed the sanctions against Mitrović, Silva and the club without any further comments.

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