From The Times’ James Ducker.

Nikolai Mijailovic, the disgraced Wisla Krakow defender, was banned for five matches by Uefa last night after being found guilty of racially abusing Benni McCarthy, the Blackburn Rovers forward, during the teams™ Uefa Cup tie last week.

McCarthy claimed that he started receiving abuse from Mijailovic in the first half of Blackburn™s 2-1 win over Wisla in Poland last Thursday, but that, despite raising the matter with Stefan Johansson, the referee, and a number of Wisla players at half-time, nothing was done and that there were more racist remarks at the final whistle.

Mijailovic, the former Serbia Under-21 defender, who has until midnight on Monday to appeal against the decision, claimed that he was provoked by McCarthy, but denied making racist taunts. œMcCarthy hit me in an aggressive way in the first minute, Mijailovic told Kurir, a Serbian newspaper. œIt was clearly unsporting behaviour. When I returned he started to shout, insult me and then he stuck out his tongue.

œI tried to ignore the provocation but he stood in front of me and started to raise his hands. I had to react so I pushed him. Afterwards McCarthy started to behave like a mummy™s boy. He said I was a racist. It™s nonsense. Both of us insulted each other, but there were no racist comments. Why won™t he behave like a man and say what words he used against me?

Mijailovic, the defender, faces up to three years in prison for refusing a breath test and running off after being stopped by police for driving through a red light in November last year. He was banned from driving for three years as a consequence of the incident and also had his passport confiscated.

Eight months earlier, Mijailovic was accused of attacking a student and the women accompanying him in a pub in Krakow and, in September 2004, he was issued with a warning by Wisla and fined by the Polish football association for claiming to fans that a referee had been bribed by Legia Warsaw.

Hertha Berlin’s 3rd round DFB-Pokal tie with Stuttgart was abadoned
Wednesday night when the assistant referee was hit with “a full plastic cup.”
Despite Sven-Goran Erikkson meeting with West Ham’s prospective new owners, Alan Pardew’s job at Upton Park is said to be safe. Until, of course, he’s lost to Blackburn on Sunday.