Chelsea Star John Obi Mikel Suspended 3 Matches for Incident with Referee

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: John Obi Mikel of Chelsea talks to referee Mark Clattenburg as team mate Juan Mata looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea will be without a key player for a few matches as John Obi Mikel serves a suspension for an incident that took place on October 28.

The suspension was first reported by Sky Sports News via Twitter:

 

Chelsea's John Obi Mikel given a three-match ban and £60,000 fine in relation to an incident following Manchester United game on Oct 28 #SSN

— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 6, 2012

 

Mikel reportedly entered referee Mark Clattenburg's dressing room and threatened the official following the team's defeat to Manchester United.

While there is never an excuse for this type of behavior, Sam Wallace of The Independent offered an explanation what occurred:

 

FA independent regulatory commission say Mikel 'threatened' Clattenburg in mistaken belief he had been racially abused by referee on 28 Oct

— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) December 6, 2012

 

The news of the suspension and fine come on the same day that Mikel signed a new five-year deal to remain with Chelsea for the long term (via The Boston Herald). 

Despite not putting up big offensive statistics, the midfielder is a very important part of this club. He is an excellent defender and has started 14 games this season.

He has been a part of Chelsea since 2006 and has helped the team win an English Premier League title, as well as last year's Champions League.

Mikel has also played for the Nigerian national team for a number of years and is a key player there. 

With the 25-year-old player on the sidelines, the team could suffer greatly on both sides of the pitch.

Fortunately, the next three games are all against squads that are near the bottom of the league table. The rest of the team should be able to pick up the slack against Sunderland, Aston Villa and Southampton.

Still, the suspension is troubling news for one of the more underrated players in the English Premier League.