Mills warns of complacency

John Obi Mikel has been handed a three-match suspension and

fined ?60,000 for his actions following Chelsea’s defeat to

Manchester United.

The midfielder entered the referee’s dressing room after the 28

October clash at Stamford Bridge to confront match official Mark

Clattenburg.

Mikel had been informed by team-mates that Clattenburg had used

inappropriate language of a racist nature towards him during the

match, allegations which later proved to be false.

The Football Association acknowledged the circumstances that led

to his actions and said the levels of the ban and fine had been

imposed accordingly.

A statement on the FA website 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.”

Mikel accepted the FA’s charge of “using threatening and/or

abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in the official’s

changing room” and will now miss the Premier League games against

Sunderland and Southampton as well as the Capital One cup

quarter-final against Leeds.

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Arena Coventry Limited, who manage the Ricoh Arena on behalf of

joint owners the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City

Council, yesterday issued a statutory demand for ?1.1million in

unpaid rent by the club stretching back 10 months.

The Sky Blues have 21 days, until Boxing Day in effect, to pay

the sum or potentially face a winding-up order.

Coventry responded yesterday with an official statement claiming

their annual rate of ?1.28m is the highest in both League One and

the Championship by some considerable distance, while also

bemoaning the fact they do not get access to 100 per cent of

match-day revenue.

Fisher was coy over how much money, if any, will be paid by

December 26 and said negotiations will continue to have to play a

part over the next three weeks.

But the City chief is adamant Coventry, FA Cup winners in 1987,

will not go to the wall and says they will play elsewhere before

that happens.

He said: “I’ll tell you one thing, the club comes first. We are

committed to fulfil our fixtures. This isn’t about liquidation.

This isn’t about the club going out of existence, we need to be

absolutely crystal about that.

“This is about the club setting up a sustainable business model.

We will fulfil our fixtures and, by the way, we have contingencies

because we are managing our risks, you have to plan. So if the

Ricoh shut the doors, we will play elsewhere. If forced into a

corner that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

Fisher added: “My message to supporters is there is no

liquidation scenario.”

The defender, 18, who has been at the club since the age of

nine, has signed an 18-month deal at Bootham Crescent.

Minstermen boss Gary Mills said: “Tom has come on unbelievably

in the last 12 months and thoroughly deserves his first

professional contract.

“I think he has got a good future in the game and will be

travelling with the first team down to Plymouth this weekend.”

While York were securing their first win in six league games at

Rochdale last week, Plymouth slipped to a third straight league

defeat at home to Chesterfield and have failed to win any of their

last nine games in all competitions.

But Mills said: “We were in a similar position last week and got

our first win for a while. I think it took us eight games to do so,

but we knew a result was coming.

“So we know in this league how close it is. A win for them could

be just round the corner. We know how unlucky we’ve been in games,

drawing some we should probably have won.

“It’s a long trip to Plymouth and we know how hard they’re going

to make it for us. We took our chances last week at Rochdale and

got what we deserved, but we’ll have to work just as hard against

Plymouth.”

The Minstermen’s 3-2 victory at Rochdale was their first league

win since a 1-0 success at Accrington on October 23, but while

Mills’ side have slipped to 14th place in the table, they are still

only four points adrift of the top seven.