Cheikhou Kouyate will be available for West Ham United's upcoming fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester United and Leicester City, after seeing his claim of wrongful dismissal upheld by the Football Association (FA). The Senegalese midfielder was initially set to be suspended for each of those matches having been sent off by referee Mark Clattenburg during the 67th minute of a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 2 April.
Although Kouyate did appear to foul Dwight Gayle, most felt that a straight dismissal was extremely harsh. A frustrated Slaven Bilic commented that it was "nowhere near" a red and Hammers co-chairman David Gold subsequently signalled the club's intention to dispute such a decision, while calling for referees to be given more television assistance.
Announcing the result of that appeal, the FA revealed: "An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [5 April] upheld a wrongful dismissal claim in relation to West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate. The player, who was dismissed for serious foul play during the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday [2 April], will therefore not serve any suspension."
West Ham also confirmed the decision, communicating via their official website: "West Ham United can confirm that a Football Association Regulatory Commission has upheld the club's claim for wrongful dismissal in respect of the red card shown to Cheikhou Kouyate against Crystal Palace.
"The No 8 was sent-off during the second half of the Hammers' 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with the Eagles at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, but the club's successful claim means Kouyate's three-match suspension is withdrawn. The Senegal midfielder is therefore eligible to play against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday."
This is the second time in less than two months that Kouyate has had a questionable red card rescinded by the FA. In February, the 26-year-old was supposed to serve a one-match suspension after he was sent off for allegedly denying a goal-scoring opportunity during a 5-1 FA Cup win at Blackburn Rovers. His eligibility for Premier League games against Arsenal and Leicester could prove pivotal to West Ham's hopes of finishing in the top four, with Bilic's side having now dropped to sixth, three points adrift of Manchester City. The clash with United at Upton Park on 13 April is an FA Cup quarter-final replay.