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Vieira slapped two-match ban

London: Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira was banned for two matches and fined £ 25,000 on Thursday after being found guilty of using insulting language towards the referee during a Premier League match last month.

The incident followed Vieira’s dismissal by referee Andy D’Urso in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea on September 1. The English Football Association’s Disciplinary Commission hearing found the charge that the French international midfielder used abusive language towards the official was not proved.

“Patrick has been cleared of abusive language but has been charged with insulting language,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in a statement after the verdict. “As it stands, he has been suspended for two matches from November 11, which are our home match against Tottenham and away at Southampton.

“We are naturally very disappointed with this decision and will be thinking about an appeal over the next couple of days.”

Vieira’s ban came as another blow to Wenger, whose Double winners have lost their last two games after a long unbeaten run.

The 26-year-old Vieira is the first high-profile casualty of the FA’s policy, announced at the start of the season, to clamp down on foul and abusive language directed at match officials.

The combative Frenchman was dismissed in the 50th minute against Chelsea after receiving his second yellow card, exchanging words with the referee before leaving the pitch.

It was Vieira’s eighth sending-off in his six years at Arsenal. Vieira, who has already served a one-match ban for the sending-off against Chelsea, attended the hearing at FA headquarters in person, accompanied by Wenger and Arsenal’s Nigerian striker Nwankwo Kanu.

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