No Leniency For Lyon’s Racial Abuse Victim John Mensah

Many felt that John Mensah was harshly dismissed during Olympique Lyonnais’ fixture with Le Havre last weekend. However, his ban has been upheld while Auxerre’s Thomas Kahlenberg has seen his rescinded.
There were a number of controversial talking points with regard to referees last weekend, leaving the LFP’s (Ligue de Football Professsionel) Disciplinary Committee with something of a mess to clear up. The body decided that Auxerre’s Thomas Kahlenberg’s red card should be withdrawn but Olympique Lyonnais’ John Mensah’s should remain. In addition, Paris Saint-Germain pair Claude Makelele and Stephane Sessegnon will be dealt with at a later date.

The first of four main incidents reared its head on Saturday evening, when Auxerre clashed with Lille. Kahlenberg was dismissed late in that fixture for an alleged elbow on Mathieu Debuchy, who was unfortunate enough to receive a broken nose when the Dane jumped for a high ball. However, his red card has been rescinded by the Disciplinary Committee as it was decided by match official Fredy Fautrel that no offence had taken place after he reviewed video evidence.

John Mensah was not to be treated so lightly by the panel, who would uphold his one game suspension after he was sent-off during Olympique Lyonnais’ home fixture against Le Havre. Mensah was subject to racial abuse from a section of visiting fans throughout that encounter and was widely felt to be harshly treated by referee Alain Hamer.

While these two players were both dismissed, the case of Paris Saint-Germain duo Makelele and Sessegnon will be examined in a fortnight’s time. Saint-Etienne had elected not to pursue the case as referee Laurent Duhamel dealt with both players at the time with yellow cards. The Disciplinary Commission may yet take greater action, although whether it could successfully push suspensions through in light of the recent Souleymane Diawara case appears doubtful.

Robin Bairner,