Four match ban for Turner

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LONDON, December 23 – Sunderland defender Michael Turner will now serve a four-game ban for his sending-off against Manchester City after the Football Association (FA) added an extra match to the usual suspension.He will miss the Boxing Day Premier League clash with Everton, the trip to Blackburn two days later as well as the FA Cup third round tie against non-league Barrow and the home game against Bolton on January 9.

Turner won’t be available again until Sunderland face current Premier League leaders Chelsea on January 9.

He was sent-off by referee Andre Marriner during the closing stages of Sunderland’s 4-3 Premier League loss away to City at Eastlands on Saturday after catching Gareth Barry with an elbow.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce branded the decision a joke and announced the club would appeal.

The Black Cats argued the standard three-game ban is excessive but an independent FA regulatory commission landed Turner with a four-game ban on Tuesday, effectively for wasting their time, as they said the appeal had no chance of success.

The commission’s statement said: "Turner claimed the standard punishment is clearly excessive.

"But this was rejected by the commission and the defender will now receive a four-match ban – increased by one game as the commission felt the claim had no prospect of success – starting with immediate effect."

Bruce, speaking immediately after the match, was far from convinced Sunderland would get much joy given he’d complained about Marriner’s display during a recent match against West Ham where Black Cats striker Kenwyne Jones was sent-off.

"Because I have complained about him, I get that decision," said Bruce.

"You have got to raise your elbows when you are jumping for a ball," Bruce, a former Manchester United central defender, added.

"I might as well tell my centre-half not to head it next week because he might be sent-off.

"I hope the referee looks at it again. I doubt it though."

Bruce could be in trouble with the FA for his comments about Marriner.

The governing body said on Tuesday they had written to Bruce "seeking his observations following media comments made immediately after the match at the City of Manchester Stadium".

Bruce has until December 31 to respond.

Sunderland are currently tenth in the 20-team Premier League.

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