Aleksandar Mitrović has to face severe punishment – he deserves a 10-match ban

Referee Chris Kavanagh and Aleksandar Mitrovic – Aleksandar Mitrovic should face severe punishment – He deserves a 10-match ban – Getty Images / Matthew Ashton

In order for the referees at every level of the game, the FA must strike Aleksandar Mitrović with a ban of at least 10 matches for his actions. At Old Trafford in Fulham’s 3-1 loss to Manchester United. He got his hands on referee Chris Kavanagh, which is simply unacceptable.

I cannot fathom what goes through a player’s head in moments like this and we really need the sport’s governing body to take strong and decisive action. A three-match ban wouldn’t be enough, and if that happened it would send a terrible message.

We’ve seen an increase in opposition in recent weeks, and that’s enough. I criticized the referees for not taking any action against Bruno Fernandes when he laid his hands on the assistant referee during Manchester United’s match with Liverpool, but that was as clear as today.

What made it even more puzzling was that it came after a clear decision by Kavanagh to send off Willian for his handling of Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line. Kavanagh did not have the best vision at first, but this worked Farr as it should, giving him the opportunity to make the right decision after witnessing the incident again.

Fulham boss Marco Silva also lost his nerve, and Cavanagh was right to serve for trying to tackle while looking at the video screen.

But then Mitrović decided to take center stage with his ridiculous actions. He started with what was essentially a verbal attack on Kavanagh, then got his hands on the referee. His behavior was very dangerous, and I feel Kavanagh was fully justified in all three red cards he showed in that crazy 40-second period.

What we have now is waiting to see what the FA will do next. But there may be little doubt that the game’s picture has been tarnished, and we know that what happens at the elite level carries over to the grassroots. Referees at all levels feel vulnerable and the Football Association has a duty to take care of them in ensuring that Mitrovic is fully sanctioned to send the message that this type of behavior is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

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