Fulham's Mitrovic facing long ban after shoving ref

Aleksandar Mitrovic facing a lengthy ban for shoving referee as FA insist three matches is ‘clearly insufficient’ – with Fulham planning to use ‘Bruno Fernandes’ defence as manager Marco Silva is also charged

  • Aleksandar Mitrovic is set to receive a long ban after shoving ref Chris Kavanagh
  • The Fulham striker confronted Kavanagh in their FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford
  • Manager Marco Silva has also been charged by the FA after the bizarre incident 

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Marco Silva are facing lengthy bans after the Football Association last night slapped Fulham with a raft of charges following their FA Cup meltdown at Old Trafford.

Mitrovic was red carded after barging into referee Chris Kavanagh amid a foul-mouthed tirade and the FA say the standard three-game suspension is ‘clearly insufficient’. 

Fulham manager Silva has also been charged for abusive behaviour towards Kavanagh and fourth official David Coote, and for throwing a water bottle towards assistant referee Scott Ledger.

The FA were on Monday waiting on the referee’s report before deciding whether to seek further punishment for Mitrovic, with Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton saying the 28-year-old Serbian should miss the rest of the Premier League season for pushing Kavanagh. 

That would be a significant blow to Fulham’s hopes of finishing in a European place.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (centre) is facing a long ban after shoving referee Chris Kavanagh (left)

The Fulham striker was shown a red card for confronting the official at Old Trafford on Sunday

Manager Marco Silva (centre) was shown his marching orders too in Fulham’s 3-1 FA Cup loss against Man United and has also been charged by the FA, the governing body said on Monday

Fulham will be allowed to submit a written response to the charges with evidence. That is expected to include mention of how Bruno Fernandes escaped punishment for pushing assistant Adam Nunn during Manchester United’s 7-0 capitulation at Liverpool earlier this month. 

Insiders on Monday cited that as an example of inconsistency from the football authorities.

Yet it is expected that the Fulham striker and his manager will be hit with significant suspensions once a regulatory commission study the evidence.

Mitrovic and Silva were dismissed by Kavanagh after an angry reaction to Willian’s red card for handling the ball on the line. 

United then scored their penalty to come back from 1-0 down to win 3-1 and reach the FA Cup semi-finals, where they will face Brighton at Wembley Stadium.

Paolo Di Canio received 11 games when he famously pushed referee Paul Alcock in the chest in 1998, forcing him to fall to the floor. 

Fulham have 11 fixtures remaining this season and some figures in football have suggested the FA should use Mitrovic to send a message amid a rise in referee abuse.

In a statement on Monday night, the FA said: ‘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. 

Willian’s goal-line handball sparked a bizarre 40 seconds which saw three red cards shown

Some have suggested the FA use Mitrovic to send a message amid a rise in referee abuse

‘It’s further alleged that in throwing a water bottle in the direction of the assistant referee his behaviour was improper.’

The statement continued: ‘The FA has claimed that 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. 

‘In addition, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s behaviour and/or language was allegedly improper and/or abusive and/or insulting and/or threatening following his dismissal. It’s also alleged that Fulham failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.’

The FA did not take further action against Fernandes for pushing Nunn as the incident was seen on the day by the match officials, who did not punish the United captain. While Mitrovic was red carded by Kavanagh, the FA had the power to seek a longer punishment.

This incident, as well as other examples of Premier League players furiously surrounding officials, has led to talk of captains being the only ones allowed to speak to referees. 

That is currently the protocol in rugby union but is not on the radar in football, though it has been trialled by authorities in the past.

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