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Leicester striker Jamie Vardy loses appeal against red card

Jamie Vardy will miss Leicester's next three games after an appeal against his red card against Stoke was rejected by an independent regulatory commission.

Vardy was dismissed for a two-footed challenge on Mame Diouf, which referee Craig Pawson deemed to be reckless despite connecting with the ball first.

A short disciplinary statement from the Football Association read: "Jamie Vardy will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after his wrongful dismissal claim was rejected.

"The Leicester City striker was sent off for serious foul play during the game at Stoke City on Saturday 17 December 2016."

Vardy will be unavailable for the Boxing Day clash against Everton, the New Year's Eve game versus West Ham and the trip to Middlesbrough on January 2.

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri admitted the decision was a debatable one following the 2-2 draw at the Bet365 Stadium, but the club appealed after replays suggested Vardy had been knocked off balance moments earlier by Glen Johnson.

Ranieri said after the match: "He wants to challenge and get the ball, not make a foul.

''If you listen to me I say, 'No' (to a red card), if you listen to Mark Hughes, he says Yes'. But the decision is the referee and he says it's a red card.

"There was a big challenge between Johnson and Vardy. He touched the ball. Maybe it was yellow.''

Vardy was a star performer in the Foxes' unlikely title triumph last season, breaking a league record by scoring in 11 consecutive matches, but 2016/7 has been a leaner time for the 29-year-old and his team.

He went 16 games without a goal before ending his barren streak with a hat-trick against Manchester City and Leicester, who go into the festive programme just three points above the relegation zone, will miss his presence.

Vardy will next be available for his side's FA Cup third round match at Everton on January 7.

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