Four-game ban for Ramires

Congleton Guardian: Chelsea midfielder Ramires, left, has accepted a four-game ban by the Football Association Chelsea midfielder Ramires, left, has accepted a four-game ban by the Football Association

Chelsea midfielder Ramires will miss the Blues' title run-in after accepting a four-match ban for violent conduct.

The Brazilian had until 6pm on Thursday to respond to a Football Association charge for striking Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson in an off-the-ball incident on Saturday and chose not to contest it.

Having already been sent off against Aston Villa last month, he received an additional one-match ban on top of the regular three games.

That rules him out of Sunday's visit to title rivals Liverpool - a match for which Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has already threatened to play a weakened team - as well as meetings with Norwich and Cardiff.

The fourth and final match of the ban will cover the first domestic game of next season.

The 27-year-old's season is not over as long as Chelsea remain in the Champions League, with a 0-0 draw in their semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid leaving them in a strong position.

Mourinho and assistant Rui Faria were also subject to disciplinary action by the FA on Wednesday, following the Black Cats' victory at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho gave an apparently highly sarcastic appraisal of r eferee Mike Dean's performance, as well drawing referees' chief Mike Riley into the debate, while Faria was dismissed for angrily confronting the match officials.

The pair have until 6pm on Monday to consider their responses. Faria's case has been designated a ''non-standard'' one by the FA ''due to the a ggressive and/or threatening and/or serious nature of the reported behaviour.''

It is the third time Mourinho has faced FA disciplinary action this term. As well as the Villa Park incident which has left him seething, Mourinho was fined £8,000 after accepting a charge following his dismissal against Cardiff in October.

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