Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has received a major blow to his hopes of securing a top-four finish after the FA banned Marouane Fellaini for the three remaining matches of the league campaign. The Belgium international, along with Leicester City defender Robert Huth, have been handed three-game suspensions following incidents during the 1 May draw between the sides.
The United midfielder appeared to elbow the Foxes' defender after having his hair pulled during a first-half corner. Referee Michael Oliver failed to spot the episode during the game, but as it was caught on video the FA decided to take retrospective disciplinary action following a review of the incident from a panel of three former elite officials.
Both players were charged with violent conduct earlier in the week and the FA has now confirmed they will both serve a three-match suspension, rejecting the contest of Huth, who argued that the standard three-game penalty was excessive in this case.
"Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth will both serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after being charged with violent conduct that was not seen by the match officials but caught on video," the FA said in an official statement.
"The Manchester United midfielder and Leicester City defender were involved in a 21st-minute incident during their fixture on Sunday 1 May 2016. Both players accepted the charge, however, Huth contested that the standard penalty of a three-match suspension would be 'clearly excessive'. This claim, however, was rejected following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Thursday 5 May 2016]."
Fellaini will consequently be unable to help his side in their chase for the top four, with United visiting Norwich City at the weekend before meetings with West Ham United and Bournemouth. However, the Belgium international will be ready to return to action for the FA Cup final clash against Crystal Palace on Saturday 21 May.
Huth, meanwhile, will miss the last two games of the season and as well the opening game of the 2016-2017 campaign.