Longest bans in Premier League history – from Ferdinand’s drug test to Suarez

Suspensions are a key part of football these days; they help keep discipline in the game and the officials in charge.

While most players serve one-match bans for accumulating five yellow cards or seeing red, some bans can last longer.

And not all bans are enforced for on-pitch antics – Adrian Mutu famously served a suspension after testing positive for cocaine.

Between 1962 and 1964 four British players were slapped with lifetime bans from the sport when they were involved in match-fixing.

With that in mind, Daily Star Sport is looking at the seven longest bans since the inauguration of the Premier League in 1992.

Paolo Di Canio – 11 games

Paolo Di Canio was renowned for his short fuse, almost as much as he is remembered for his mercurial skills on the ball.

And in a Premier League clash against Arsenal in 1998, his emotions boiled over once more when the Italian shoved referee Paul Alcock to the ground.

The then 30-year-old was slapped with an 11 game ban and a £10,000 fine.

Speaking after the event he said: "I want to say that I am very, very sorry for what happened. I had a fair hearing, and I am happy about that."

Have any players escaped a long suspension? Let us know in the comments section

Luis Suarez – 4 months

Amazingly it's not Luis Suarez's ban for racially abusing Manchester Untied's Patrice Evra that lands him a spot on this list.

Suarez only received an eight-game ban for that incident as Liverpool infamously wore shirts in support of Suarez.

Instead, Suarez was banned from all football-related activities for four months after he was seen biting Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

The biting incident was the third that Suarez had been accused of during his career.

Kolo Toure – 6 months

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Kolo Toure was banned for six months in 2011 after he admitted taking an unspecified substance contained in some water tablets he obtained through his wife.

Toure's legal team had pushed for a three-month ban so he could play at the start of the 11/12 season.

He was handed a backdated ban, which meant Toure was able to line up for Roberto Mancini side's on their opening day clash with Swansea.

The Ivorian later said: "I am relieved that I will be able to return to football in September and thank the FA's commission for their understanding."

Adrian Mutu – 7 months

Adrian Mutu was a highly-touted striker when he arrived at Stamford Bridge, but his short-lived Chelsea career came crashing down in disgrace in 2004.

Mutu returned a positive test for cocaine that led to a seven-month ban, and the effective end of his Chelsea career.

The disgraced star declined to have his B sample tested and instead owned up entirely to the wrongdoing.

The positive test led to a lengthy court case where Chelsea sought to gain some compensation for his actions.

Rio Ferdinand – 8 months

Man United centre-back Rio Ferdinand was slapped with an eight-month drug ban after he missed a doping test in 2003.

Ferdinand had been called for a routine drugs test in September 2003, shortly after Sir Alex Ferguson made him England's most expensive player.

An independent tribunal found the England player guilty of misconduct – slapping him with the ban.

The suspension meant Ferdinand was ineligible for Euro 2004, and he couldn't help his side stop Arsenal's Invincibles.

Eric Cantona – 9 months

Eric Cantona never shied away from controversy during his time in England.

But an incident against Crystal Palace in 1995 serves as Cantona's enduring legacy – alongside his magnificent chip against Sunderland a year later.

The Frenchman had been given his marching order when a Crystal Palace fan decided to give Cantona an earful as he left the pitch.

Incensed, Cantona launched into the crowd producing a 'kung-fu' kick on the fan.

Mark Bosnich – 9 months

"Yes, I took drugs but only once my career was over. I have no regrets. I owe football absolutely nothing," Mark Bosnich told The Guardian when he hung up his boots in 2004.

Like Mutu, Bosnich tested positive for cocaine while playing at Chelsea.

"I still maintain that at the time of my drugs test in November 2002 I was not taking cocaine…I got talking to a girl who later admitted that she had slipped the drug into her drink. I must have had a sip of her glass."

Bosnich was slapped with a nine-month suspension, the longest in Premier League history.

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