• Everton midfielder accepts FA charge of violent conduct
• Belgian will miss West Ham, Wigan and Chelsea matches
Marouane Fellaini has been banned for three matches after accepting a violent conduct charge issued by the Football Association for headbutting Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross in Everton's 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Fellaini issued an unconditional apology for the incident, which was provoked by his frustration at being held by Shawcross when in the Stoke penalty area. Yet despite the growing prevalence of defenders holding opposing attackers at deadball situations throughout the Premier League, it is understood there will be no unilateral move from the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which oversees the officiating of the competition, to act against the practice. Any action would require the agreement of the game's various stakeholders.
Fellaini's decision to plead guilty means he will miss three-quarters of Everton's festive programme, with the Belgian next able to play in the 2 January trip to Newcastle United. David Moyes is without him for the games against West Ham United, Wigan Athletic and Chelsea.
A statement from Everton said: "Midfielder Marouane Fellaini will miss Everton's Christmas fixture schedule after being retrospectively charged with violent conduct by the FA following Saturday's game at Stoke City. The charge is in relation to an incident in the 59th minute involving Fellaini and Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross, which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
"The player and the club have accepted the charge and the 25-year-old will be suspended for three games. Referee Mark Halsey confirmed that he saw two further incidents in the 71st and 91st minutes, also involving Fellaini and Shawcross, neither of which he deemed to be violent conduct."
After the match, Moyes was critical of Fellaini's conduct and the player said: "I apologise completely to Ryan Shawcross, my team-mates and to our fans at the game. There was a lot of pushing and pulling going on inside the Stoke penalty area and I didn't feel I was getting any protection from the officials. Nevertheless I know I shouldn't have done what I did. I've also apologised to the manager and the staff. I have no excuses. I was disappointed with the way I was being treated and I lost my temper, which was unprofessional."