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Thatcher receives eight-match ban

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LONDON, England -- Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher has been handed an eight-match ban plus a 15-game suspended ban for his foul on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes last month.

The suspension takes effect retroactively from August 26, three days after the incident when Thatcher crashed elbow first into the Portuguese midfielder as both players chased a ball over the touchline.

The extra suspended ban on Thatcher, who had already been banned by his club for six games, can be activated at any time in the next two years if he is found guilty of another serious foul.

The English FA's Independent Disciplinary Commission took action despite Thatcher having been booked for the foul after studying television footage of the match, a 0-0 draw, in Manchester.

The FA said on its Web site: "The incident was considered as an exceptional case because the FA contends that the challenge was sufficiently serious that had Thatcher been sent off an additional sanction would have been merited."

Thatcher's lawyer Rupert Bowers, quoted on Manchester City's Web site, said: "Mr Thatcher deeply regrets the incident. He accepted the punishment from his club; and that penalty has been increased by the FA today.

"Mr Thatcher similarly accepts the FA's decision without question. Today he again expresses his apologies to all concerned; he now wishes to serve his suspension, put the incident behind him and continue with his career."

A spokesman for City said: "We note the findings of the disciplinary committee and are pleased the FA have taken our own disciplinary action into account."

Thatcher had already apologised in writing to Mendes, who opted not to take any action personally after needing hospital treatment following the challenge which knocked him unconscious and caused him to suffer a seizure.


Mendes lies prone by the side of the pitch after feeling the force of Thatcher's elbow.

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