Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been suspended for three matches and fined £60,000 after being found guilty of using threatening and/or insulting words towards referee Mark Clattenburg.

The incident occurred in the referee's changing room following The Blues' 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on 28 October, during which teammate Ramires had allegedly heard Clattenburg racially abuse Mikel.

The complaint made by Chelsea against Clattenburg was subsequently dropped a fortnight ago, with Mikel being charged by The Football Association after a breach of rule E3.

The FA's independent commission ruled that due to Mikel believing that Clattenburg had racially abused him during the game, the Nigerian midfielder's ban had been reduced.

Mark Clattenburg and John Obi Mikel
Mikel has been banned for abusing Clattenburg.

"Mikel had requested a personal hearing after admitting an FA charge of using threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour," an FA statement read.

"The Regulatory Commission's independent chairman Christopher Quinlan QC emphasised that the Independent Regulatory Commission accepted, as did The FA, that at the time he threatened the referee the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him.

"But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer."

The 25 year old will miss the Premier League games at Sunderland this weekend and at home to Aston Villa on 23 December, as well as the League Cup quarter final against Leeds United on 19 December.

Mikel remains available for Chelsea's FIFA World Club Cup campaign beginning next Thursday but will be absent for a crucial period of the club's domestic campaign during which Rafa Benitez attempts to gain his first league win as interim boss.

The former Lyn Oslo player was absent from the Chelsea side which were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday despite victory over Danish side Nordsjaelland.

Referee Clattenburg returned to officiating for Southampton's home game against Norwich City on 28 November after being absent for four matches as he assisted The FA will investigations following a complaint from Chelsea concerning alleged racially abused of Mikel.

The club received wide criticism for the public nature of their complaint, for which Chelsea later expressed regret for following a meeting between the club chairman Bruce Buck and Clattenburg.