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Chelsea defender Papy Djilobodji, currently on loan at Werder Bremen, has seen his suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct reduced by the German Football Association's (DFB) disciplinary board. The Senegalese centre-back will now miss only two fixtures as a result of his controversial antics during the 1-1 Bundesliga draw with Mainz on 19 March.
After a coming together with Pablo de Blasis at at Weserstadion, a frustrated Djilobodji was seen to run his index finger across his neck in an apparent cut-throat gesture aimed at the midfielder. Such an action, missed by match referee Manuel Gräfe, initially merited a three-game ban, with the DFB evidently using the punishment handed out to Deniz Naki as a precedent.
Back in 2009, the former St Pauli forward received the same suspension for a similar gesticulation that came after he had scored against fierce rivals Hansa Rostock. Werder argued that their player's wrongdoing was less provocative, however, labelling the ruling as "unjustified" and announcing their intention to appeal.
In a new statement issued via their official website on Wednesday evening (23 March), the Bundesliga club revealed that their arguments had been partially successful and that Djilobodji's ban had been reduced. The 27-year-old will have to pay a fine of €15,000 (£11,861, $16,762).
Werder also confirmed that they would not be submitting any further appeals. Responding to the decision, chief executive Thomas Eichin said:"Papy's suspension hits us hard and is obviously a serious disadvantage for us in the battle to stay up. We won't bemoan the situation, however.
"We'll be professional about it. We've accepted the decision to bring some closure to the issue and to allow us to focus on what happens on the pitch.
"We also want to protect our player, who has been excessively vilified in the media for a thoughtless gesture. The current tendency to respond in an exaggerated manner to the actions of young people is something we should all think about."
In addition to missing meetings with Augsburg and Wolfsburg, Djilobodji will also sit out Werder's upcoming trip to title contenders Borussia Dortmund after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season in a separate incident against Mainz. Despite his lack of first-team football for Chelsea following a summer move from Nantes, the defender has become an important player in Bremen and will be sorely missed by Viktor Skrypnyk's side as they seek to increase their one-point buffer to the relegation play-off position.