Stoke have lost their appeal to the Football Association against defender Robert Huth’s red card received during Saturday’s home game with Sunderland and the player must now serve a three-game ban.
Huth was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson after 45 minutes at the Britannia Stadium for a challenge on Blacks Cats midfielder David Meyler.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis opted to appeal against the dismissal after claiming there was “no intent” in Huth’s challenge. But an independent regulatory commission rejected the appeal.
A statement on the FA website read: “An independent regulatory commission has dismissed the claim of wrongful dismissal of Stoke City’s Robert Huth.
“The defender will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect following his red card for serious foul play in the game with Sunderland on February 4.”
It means Huth will miss two league games, at Fulham this weekend and the home match with Swansea on February 26, plus the FA Cup fifth-round encounter at Crawley on February 19.
The commission did not exercise the option of adding another game to Huth’s punishment which can occur if they deem an appeal to be frivolous.
Huth will also be eligible to play in Stoke’s two-legged Europa League tie with Valencia on February 16 and 23.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill yesterday, in his media conference ahead of tonight’s FA Cup replay with Middlesbrough, claimed Huth’s challenge was “reckless”.
And O’Neill launched a stout defence of Meyler after he was accused of play-acting to get Huth sent off.
Pulis hit out at the Irishman but O’Neill – who did not see a replay of the incident until the following day – insists the official got it right.
He said: “First of all, I understand what Tony was saying from a general viewpoint because players do have a responsibility to try to keep fellow players on the field of play.
“I hadn’t had a chance to see the incident until Sunday. I saw it and I still have exactly the same opinion: it’s a reckless challenge.
“It’s one that the referee sees very, very quickly and his opinion of it was my opinion at the time, that it was a red card.
“Now obviously, you can see he [Huth] has attempted to pull out at the end, but that’s something the referee can’t see in a split-second, and he still catches Meyler, and Meyler on the way down has hurt himself.
“This idea that Meyler feigned an injury – I’m sorry, I know David and David is as brave as they come.”