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The Nigerian was sentenced to a three-match suspension and a £60,000 fine by the FA, but the officials' group say it is a derisory ban which "gives the wrong message"

Prospect, the referees' trade union, has slammed the FA for their lenience after they banned Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel for three games.

The organisation has expressed its disappointment in the suspension issued by the FA after the Nigerian confronted Mark Clattenburg following the Blues' controversial Premier League clash with Manchester United in October. Mikel was also fined £60,000 by the FA, but Prospect believe the Chelsea midfielder’s ban is not strong enough.

"It is vital that officials were given real respect and this decision regrettably gave entirely the wrong message. A player in parks football found guilty of behaviour like Mikel's would have faced a long-term ban," Prospect said in a statement.

National secretary Alan Leighton backed Prospect’s views, by saying that the ban ridicules the FA's own respect campaign.

"For entering the referee's dressing room and threatening and intimidating the referee to the extent that he feared for his safety the penalty was no longer than had the player been sent off for serious foul play," Leighton told reporters.

"This did absolutely nothing to further the Respect campaign."

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