CHERRIES midfielder Jefferson Lerma has been hit with a six-game ban and a £40,000 fine after his charge of biting an opponent was upheld by the Football Association’s independent Regulatory Commission.

The incident came in Cherries’ 1-0 Championship defeat to Sheffield Wednesday back in November.

The disciplinary breach, which contravenes FA Rule E3, is said to have occurred in the 83rd minute of the game at Hillsborough.

Video footage from that game shows Lerma tussling with Wednesday's Josh Windass in the penalty area, as the pair awaited a free-kick to be swung into the box by Jack Stacey.

The Daily Echo understands Cherries were made aware of the claims after the game in Yorkshire, and subsequently submitted their version of events the following week.

It is understood the club then heard nothing more about the claims until December, when the charge was announced.

And six months following the charge, the commission has delivered a verdict which upheld the allegations against Lerma.

A statement from the FA read: “AFC Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma has been suspended for six matches and fined £40,000 following a breach of FA Rule E3 that occurred during an EFL Championship match against Sheffield Wednesday FC on 03/11/20.

“The midfielder denied that his behaviour in or around the 83rd minute of the match constituted violent conduct.

“In independent Regulatory Commission found the breach of FA Rule E3 proven after considering evidence during a hearing.”

Cherries have since responded to the commission’s verdict and insisted Lerma “is currently considering his options regarding an appeal”.

A statement from the club said: “AFC Bournemouth are surprised and disappointed at the outcome of the Football Association independent Regulatory Commission’s decision to uphold a charge against and ban Jefferson Lerma for six games and fine him £40,000.

“The sanction relates to an allegation that Lerma bit Sheffield Wednesday forward Josh Windass in the Sky Bet Championship fixture between the clubs on 3rd November 2020.

“Since the start of this unnecessarily long process, Jefferson has strenuously denied the charge and has been fully supported by the club in doing so. Both the club and player have fully cooperated with the FA throughout.

“As stated in the commission’s written reasons, the video footage of the incident between the players was ‘not conclusive’.

“In addition, there was no photographic evidence of any bite mark and Mr Windass – who is described as an ‘unappealing witness’ who ‘gave every impression of simply not caring’ – did not seek or receive any medical attention or treatment.

“Expert evidence was also presented to the commission suggesting that Jefferson was most unlikely to have intentionally bitten Mr Windass, but this appears to have been rejected without due consideration.

“The club believes there was a lack of clear and compelling evidence in finding the charge against Jefferson proven, and the player is currently considering his options regarding an appeal.

“The club will make no further comment at this time.”