By Tony Hughes
Moussa Dembele has been handed a six-match ban by the Football Association for his attempt to gouge Diego Costa’s eye.
Dembele and Tottenham accepted his charge of violent conduct, but challenged the FA’s ruling that his clash with Costa constituted a punishment bigger than the standard three-game ban.
Spurs argued that the Belgium international’s action did not technically constitute an eye gouge, as he had been accused of, and felt his good disciplinary record should have also been taken into consideration.
However, the protests of Tottenham were ignored as the FA confirmed on Friday Dembele will miss the final two games of this season and also sit out the first four of next season.
This means Dembele will not play for his club in domestic competition again until September in what is major blow to the team.
An FA statement read: “Mousa Dembele will serve a six-match suspension with immediate effect after he committed an act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
“The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder accepted the charge but denied The FA’s claim that the standard punishment of three matches which would otherwise apply to this offence was clearly insufficient.
“An Independent Regulatory Commission upheld The FA’s claim at a hearing today [Friday 6 May 2016] and ordered that an additional three match suspension was appropriate.”
Television replays appeared to show Dembele gouge the eye area of Costa during the touchline bust-up that involved players and management staff from both teams.
The first-half flashpoint between Dembele and Costa was missed by referee Mark Clattenburg — but was treated as an “extraordinary event” — leaving the way clear for the FA to throw the book at Belgian Dembele.
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