West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena has had his three-match ban overturned after an independent commission accepted his sending off against Chelsea was “wrongful”.
Thomas Tuchel’s Blues clinched a potentially vital win in the race for a top-four finish against surprise Champions League hopefuls West Ham, with Timo Werner’s goal enough to seal all three points at London Stadium.
West Ham’s hopes of pushing for a late equaliser were dashed when Balbuena saw red in the 81st minute.
While clearing the ball down the line on West Ham’s right flank, Balbuena – seemingly inadvertently – caught Ben Chilwell on his follow-through.
Referee Chris Kavanagh initially booked Balbuena but, after consultation with the VAR, went over to assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and subsequently changed his decision to a straight red card – a call that infuriated Hammers boss David Moyes.
However, the FA has revealed an independent panel has deemed Kavanagh’s decision to be erroneous.
An FA statement read: “An independent regulatory commission has removed Fabian Balbuena’s three-match suspension following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal.
“The West Ham defender was dismissed for serious foul play during a Premier League fixture against Chelsea on Saturday.”
As such, Balbuena will be able to feature against Burnley on Monday, as West Ham resume their quest for a top-four finish.
The defeat to Chelsea left them three points adrift of Tuchel’s men in fourth.
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