Following an appeal, the Football Association rescinded Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta red card against Aston Villa on Wednesday (AEST).
After appearing to strike Jack Grealish in the chest, the defender was sent off for abusive actions in the final minute of Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Villa Park on Sunday. The FA has overturned Azpilicueta’s three-match domestic ban, which he was expected to complete at the start of next season.
“An independent disciplinary commission has lifted Cesar Azpilicueta’s three-match suspension after a successful accusation of unfair dismissal,” the FA said in a statement.
Chelsea finished fourth in the Premier League. They secured a spot in the Champions League for next season despite their final-game defeat to Villa.
The Blues have a chance to win UEFA’s main club competition this season, with a crucial match against domestic rivals Manchester City scheduled for Saturday in Porto.
Azpilicueta has played 42 times for Chelsea in all competitions this season. He is a strong contender to start in the Champions League final.
The 31-year-old was selected to Spain’s Euro 2020 squad this week.
From a personal standpoint, Azpilicueta will be able to play in Saturday’s Champions League final. The match will be against Manchester City without the threat of a ban. It will also be welcome news as Chelsea’s next Premier League season begins.
Azpilicueta has started 24 of Chelsea’s 26 league games. He has played a key role in the club’s Champions League qualification for next season. Thomas Tuchel has given the Spain international a central position in his back three on the right flank.
“An independent Regulatory Commission has lifted Cesar Azpilicueta’s three-match suspension after a successful accusation of unfair dismissal,” the FA said in a law and discipline clarification.
“The Chelsea FC defender was suspended from Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa FC due to abusive conduct.”