Chelsea Captain Reece James to Miss Start of 2024-25 Season After Appeal Denied by FA

Chelsea Captain Reece James to Miss Start of 2024-25 Season After Appeal Denied by FA

Chelsea’s efforts to overturn Reece James’s suspension have been unsuccessful, leaving the club’s captain sidelined for the first three matches of the 2024-25 campaign.

The Football Association (FA) dismissed Chelsea’s appeal, which argued that James’s actions during the incident with Brighton’s Joao Pedro were unintentional.

This ruling comes as a significant setback for Chelsea as they prepare for the new season under manager Enzo Maresca.

Details of the Incident

The incident occurred during Chelsea’s penultimate game of the season against Brighton. James received his second red card of the season after kicking out at Joao Pedro. Chelsea argued that James was disoriented after being fouled from behind and that Pedro made contact with him as he ran past.

They claimed James’s kick was not meant to harm Pedro but to push him away with his foot.

FA’s Decision

In documents seen by Mail Sport, the FA’s independent regulatory commission unanimously rejected Chelsea’s arguments.

The FA’s written reasons stated, “The account of Mr. James was not persuasive. It is evident from the video evidence that Mr. James does kick out at the opposing player, catching him below the left knee.

It was not accepted that he was in some way disoriented. The player was running away from him. This was not merely a coming together.”

The FA further noted, “Moreover, it was not accepted that he simply used his leg to push the opposing player away.

It is clear from the video evidence that he kicked out at the opposing player with a straight left leg. It was unnecessary and amounted to an act of violent conduct. The appeal was dismissed.”

Impact on Chelsea’s Season

As a result of the FA’s decision, James will miss Chelsea’s first three matches of the 2024-25 season, having already been absent from their final fixture against Bournemouth. This suspension leaves a considerable gap in Chelsea’s defense, posing an early challenge for Maresca.

Chelsea’s Additional Appeal

Chelsea also submitted an additional claim to the FA, arguing that the standard punishment was “clearly excessive as the circumstances of the incident were truly exceptional.”

However, this claim was also turned down by the FA, emphasizing their stance on maintaining discipline and consistency in their rulings.

Season of Ill-Discipline

Chelsea’s 2023-24 season was marred by disciplinary issues, with the team accumulating more cautions than any other club in Premier League history.

This lack of discipline is an area that Maresca will need to address to prevent further unnecessary suspensions and improve the team’s overall performance.

Club Response and Future Implications

Chelsea have yet to publicly respond to the FA’s decision. The ruling underscores the importance of discipline and control, both on and off the pitch. For Maresca, managing player conduct will be crucial to ensuring a smoother season ahead.


Reece James’s suspension is a significant blow to Chelsea’s plans for the start of the new season.

The FA’s firm stance on upholding the ban highlights the challenges clubs face in managing player behavior and appeals.

As Chelsea prepares for the 2024-25 season, addressing these disciplinary issues will be vital for Maresca’s success in his managerial role.