Aleksandar Mitrovic: FA says standard ban ‘clearly insufficient’ as Fulham striker charged
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is facing a lengthy ban after the Football Association said its standard punishment for his sending off at Manchester United was “clearly insufficient”.
The Serbian has been charged with violent and improper conduct after a straight red card for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat.
Manager Marco Silva has also been charged with abusive behaviour towards match officials.
Fulham boss Silva will also face an improper conduct charge for allegedly throwing a water bottle in the direction of the assistant referee.
And the club has landed an additional charge of failing to control its players in the Old Trafford encounter.
Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton has called for Mitrovic, 28, to be given a 10-match ban, but manager Silva appealed for “fairness” for his frontman from the FA.
A player is typically suspended for three matches after being shown a straight red card for violent conduct, but that ban can be extended, depending on the circumstances.
Paolo di Canio was banned for 11 games in 1998 for shoving referee Paul Alcock when playing in a Premier League game for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal.
“The standard punishment which would otherwise apply to Aleksandar Mitrovic for the sending-off offence of violent conduct that he committed towards the match referee is clearly insufficient,” the FA said in a statement.
“In addition, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s behaviour and/or language was allegedly improper and/or abusive and/or insulting and/or threatening following his dismissal.”
Fulham’s 12-goal leading scorer had put his side in front against United early in the second half.
But he was dismissed in the 72nd minute after the hosts were awarded a penalty following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check that resulted in Brazil winger Willian also being sent off for a deliberate handball on the line.
Kavanagh also sent boss Silva to the stands for his actions on the touchline as the referee walked past him to view the pitchside monitor.
An FA statement read: “It’s alleged that Marco Silva used abusive and/or insulting words and/or gestures and/or behaviour towards the match referee; that he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official prior to his dismissal; and that he also used abusive and/or insulting words and/or gestures and/or behaviour towards the fourth official after being sent off.
“It’s further alleged that in throwing a water bottle in the direction of the assistant referee that his behaviour was improper.”
‘More than 10-game ban needed’, say refs
Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett echoed Sutton’s demand for a 10-game ban, while head of the Referees’ Association Paul Field said Mitrovic should serve longer for pushing a referee – and even face carrying out community work.
“I hope it’s more than 10 games,” said Field, who hoped the FA would consider a punishment similar to the nine-month ban Manchester United’s Eric Cantona received in 1995 for an attack on a fan at Crystal Palace.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: “Why couldn’t he go down to some of the pitches down in London?
“Turn up – there’s no car parking space, there’s no changing room, there’s a cold cup of tea, it’s pouring down with rain, the pitches are in poor condition, every player is looking to pull one over on you. And, with all of that, you get abused by the parents. So why not do that for six months?
“At an amateur level, a player is looking at about a year’s ban – why doesn’t that carry through to the professional game?
“Think about what Eric Cantona did nearly 30 years ago and he got nine months. I think they should put a really decent time on this.”
Sutton expressed fears that children and players at grassroots level may repeat Mitrovic’s behaviour – a point Field agreed with.
Grassroots referee Simon King also told BBC Radio 5 live there is “100%” a link between the behaviour fans see on the pitch and how players at grassroots level behave.
“I was stunned,” he added. “The stalking and intimidation, having to be forcibly dragged away.
“My first thought was, what would have happened had he not been dragged away by his own team-mates? And I think some of the Manchester United players helped get him away from the referee.
“When he initially put his hands on him you cannot do that. It’s quite frightening that happens at the top level.”
King said he would “100%” support a lengthy ban for Mitrovic and added: “A statement needs to be made to everybody. If that was to happen at any level of football, the ban should be set. People should be aware beforehand.”