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Marouane Fellaini handed a three match ban by the FA

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Everton's Marouane Fellaini has been handed a three match ban for headbutting Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross.

Stu Forster

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini will miss the next three matches after being handed a three match ban today by the FA. Fellaini lost his temper in Saturday's match against Stoke City, reacting to Ryan Shawcross's repeated clutching and grabbing with a rather violent headbutt to the defender.

The match referee Mak Halsey didn't see the play at the time and Fellaini was not punished, but as expected the FA has come down hard on the Belgian. The incident was caught on video.

Everton, true to David Moyes's post-match comments, did not appeal the FA's decision.

For what it's worth, Everton were praised by Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, who credited Fellaini and Moyes for their professional reactions to the situation after the match.

"It is good to see the lad has apologised for his actions," Taylor said. "It is disappointing. He has had a great season and obviously it is an aberration. It was refreshing to hear the manager accept what he did was wrong and for the player to apologise. He's prepared to accept what comes his way."

Everton manager David Moyes publicly criticised his player's behavior after the match on Saturday saying "It was a terrible thing to do" and that he expected Fellaini to be punished.

Fellaini did issue a brief apology for the incident, saying:

"I apologize completely to Ryan Shawcross, my team-mates and to our fans at the game. I lost my temper and it was unprofessional."

Fellaini will miss the Premier League games against West Ham, Wigan and Chelsea, a huge blow for the Toffees who are locked in a battle for a European spot. Fellaini has been their most influential player and Everton have looked poor in the matches he missed earlier this season.

Moyes will not be without Fellaini, Kevin Miralles and Tony Hibbert for a key stretch of games during the holidays. Young prospect Ross Barkley could be handed some playing time with Fellaini out, but there's no doubt Moyes will need the rest of his already thin roster to step up their performance.