Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has accepted a Football Association charge of violent conduct and will serve a three-match suspension, the governing body has announced.
The German international stuck out his left arm and caught West Ham defender Winston Reid in the throat as both players jostled for position from a first-half free-kick during the goalless draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The incident was not mentioned in referee Mark Clattenburg’s post-match report as he did not see the clash, leaving the FA free to punish Schweinsteiger retrospectively.
“Bastian Schweinsteiger will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after he accepted an FA charge for violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video,” said a statement on www.thefa.com.
United had refused to speak about the incident ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg, but West Ham were adamant that Schweinsteiger was guilty of foul play.
“He knows what he’s done – he’s elbowed me in the face,” Reid said after the game.
And West Ham manager Slaven Bilic added: “It’s a clear red card. A straight red without any doubts. It was a moment of madness.
“He deserved to be sent off, but the referee told me he didn’t see it. Fair enough, I believe it. It was an elbow.”
Schweinsteiger will now miss United’s next three Barclays Premier League games, away to Bournemouth on Saturday as well as the visit of Norwich on December 19 and the Boxing Day trip to Stoke.
The 31-year-old’s absence will come as a further blow to United’s injury-hit squad, even though manager Louis van Gaal suggested Schweinsteiger under-performed in the 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg, and that is why he was substituted.
“I have changed him and I don’t change players for nothing, (it’s because) I think I can do better with other players, but we are all human beings and also Bastian Schweinsteiger is a human being,” Van Gaal said after the game in Germany.
“He wants to play at the highest level and certainly in Germany to show his qualities, but I cannot say that he was the Schweinsteiger from my period in Munich today.”
But Schweinsteiger received support from Germany head coach Joachim Low following Van Gaal’s criticism.
“We at the German Football Association know what we are getting with Bastian,” Low told the Bild newspaper.
“He’s still a world-class player and undisputedly our captain.
“You’ve got to give even an experienced player like him time to adapt to a new league.
“I am sure that Manchester United are still going to get a lot of joy out of Schweinsteiger.”
Bilic called Schweinsteiger’s actions “unnecessary” on Thursday, but insisted he did not want the German international banned.
“To be fair I didn’t want him to be suspended, because now I want Manchester United to win games!” Bilic said at his press conference to preview the weekend’s home game with Stoke.
“So I only said my opinion about what happened during the game – he deserved, for that, to be sent off.
“But do I want him to be banned now? No, I want him to play.
“It wasn’t nasty or dangerous but it was unnecessary and it was a red card because Reid did nothing wrong.”