Uefa hands Kyle Walker three-game European ban after deeming foul as ‘assault’

The defender was shown a red card against RB Leipzig.

Andy Hampson
Friday 28 January 2022 17:50
Kyle Walker was sent off against RB Leipzig (DPA via PA Wire)
Kyle Walker was sent off against RB Leipzig (DPA via PA Wire)

Kyle Walker has been banned for Manchester City’s next three Champions League matches for a foul deemed by UEFA as “assault”.

The European governing body has announced the City right-back will serve an extended punishment for his straight red card in the final group game against RB Leipzig last month.

The England international will now miss both legs of the upcoming last-16 tie against Sporting Lisbon.

Walker was dismissed with eight minutes of City’s 2-1 defeat at the RB Arena remaining for needlessly kicking the legs of Leipzig forward Andre Silva from behind.

A sending-off carries an automatic one-match ban but that has been increased following a hearing of UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body. The official charge sheet referred to the matter as “assault”.

As well as the Sporting tie, the 31-year-old will also be unavailable for the first leg of City’s quarter-final – should they progress that far – or their first match in European competition next season.

The PA news agency understands the Premier League champions will not appeal against the verdict.

The ban means manager Pep Guardiola may now be counting the cost of his decision to field a strong side for what was effectively a dead rubber.

City had already secured top spot in Group A with a game to spare and there was little riding on the fixture for them.

They were beaten after goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Silva in each half. Riyad Mahrez pulled one back 14 minutes from time but frustrations then got the better of Walker and the visitors lost after playing out the closing stages with 10 men.

Guardiola, who is hoping to improve upon last season’s runners-up finish in the Champions League, certainly seemed unimpressed with Walker’s actions at the time.

“The red card hurts us, especially for the round of 16,” the Spaniard said after the game.

“Kyle Walker is an important player for us and is unnecessary to lose him like this. I hope he learns from this.”

City face Sporting in the first leg of their last-16 tie in the Portuguese capital on February 15 with the return at the Etihad Stadium on March 9.

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