Off the hook: No suspension for Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic after red card against Manchester City

By Dean Wilkins

Relieved Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic will not face suspension after being sent off against Manchester City in a fierce Community Shield tie yesterday.

The Blues fullback was red carded in the first-half for a brash challenge on compatriot Aleksandar Kolarov and was expecting a three-game ban for a straight dismissal.

But the FA – having changed their rules after Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney were sent off against Porto FC in 2006 and served three-match bans – will not punish Ivanovic.

The rules now excludes all non-competitive pre-season fixtures – including the Community Shield – meaning Chelsea will not face sanctions that are usually handed out when a player receives a straight dismissal.

The defender will now be available for selection as the Champions League and FA Cup winners begin their hunt for Premier League success as Wigan Athletic on Sunday, but the midweek international break will affect team’s prepartions, much to the displeasure of Petr Cech.

“We now have the most unfortunate international break, which is not ideal but the players go off, then we come back and the season starts on Sunday,” Cech said.

“We can take positives from this game but hopefully next week we will be fitter and sharper.

“Manchester City was a step forward and I am sure we will be ready for Wigan.”

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