Chelsea's Ramires has officially accepted a charge of violent conduct following an incident involving Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson. As reported by the Football Association, the midfielder will be suspended for four matches effective immediately.
The FA released a statement on Thursday regarding its decision, via its official website:
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has accepted a charge of violent conduct following an off-the-ball incident that was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
The incident occurred during Chelsea’s Premier League fixture against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 19 April.
Ramires receives a four match ban which will start with immediate effect.
The ban includes three games for this offence plus an additional game for his sending off at Villa Park last month.
Sunderland's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday was controversial for a number of reasons, and in one incident, Ramires appeared to strike Larsson in the face, an action that was missed by match official Mike Dean.
Former referee Dermot Gallagher spoke with Sky Sports following the incident, and he was convinced the player would be punished in some way:
He has no defence. Larsson's body shields the offence because the referee is looking at their feet. Because he did not see it this opens the way for the FA to take action.
The worst scenario there would have been if the referee had guessed and the yellow card comes out, that would have closed the door to any further action. But Mike Dean has not seen it.
When they are running it looks as though Larsson is trying to trip him and the referee looks away because the ball has gone. He's looking away and playing advantage because the ball has gone and that is why he did not see the offence.
I would be very surprised if Ramires is not charged and he will be suspended.
The Associated Press' Rob Harris provided further details regarding the suspension:
Ramires only suspended for Premier Leauge games. 3 remaining, so 4th match of ban carries into next season— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) April 24, 2014
As shared by TweetChelseaFC, one match in particular immediately stands out:
Ramires receives a four match ban which will start with immediate effect. Out of the Liverpool game.— TweetChelseaFC (@TweetChelseaFC) April 24, 2014
Chelsea and Liverpool will square off on Sunday, and with just three matches left in the 2013-14 Premier League season and the Reds sporting a five-point lead over second-place Chelsea, the league title could very well be decided at Anfield this Sunday.
Ramires is but the latest in a long list of players who won't be available for arguably the most important match of Chelsea's season, as Billy Liddell shares:
Ramires banned for four games,and Terry,Cech and Hazard out— Billy Liddell (@Liddellpool) April 24, 2014
By accepting the FA's charge of violent conduct and the four-match ban, Ramires avoided a suspension that would in all likelihood have been significantly longer. Some fans still felt the four matches were nowhere near adequate punishment for the midfielder:
Ramires should be banned for 50 games— Segun Oleniju (@DonOzone) April 24, 2014
Without the Brazilian, Jose Mourinho will most likely have to rely on either Frank Lampard or John Obi Mikel to provide a physical presence in the centre of the pitch.
Going up against a rejuvenated Steven Gerrard is a difficult task for anyone, and while Mikel performed admirably in the Blues' draw against Atletico on Tuesday, fans of the Premier League in general will no doubt be hoping for a classic matchup between veterans Lampard and Gerrard. It would be a fitting end to what has already been a fantastic season of Premier League football.