Dempsey suspended for tearing up referee's notebook

Clint Dempsey has been sanctioned for tearing up a referee's notebook but will be reinstated in time for the Gold Cup.

Clint Dempsey has been suspended for three games by Major League Soccer (MLS) for tearing up a referee's notebook during a U.S. Open Cup game earlier this week.

The Seattle Sounders star was also fined an undisclosed amount for his actions on Tuesday, which earned one of three red cards handed to Seattle players in a 3-1 extra-time loss to rival Portland Timbers.

Having already been booked, substitute Dempsey managed to get hold of the official's notebook before tearing it into pieces and throwing it to the turf.

"We do not tolerate conduct of this nature from any of our players," MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said in a statement.

"No matter how passionate our players are or what happens in the 'heat of the moment,' they must always respect all aspects of the game, especially the referees.

"In light of Clint's actions and our past precedents, we felt that a significant suspension was appropriate."

The three-game ban means Dempsey will be eligible to compete for the United States in the upcoming Gold Cup after fears his suspension could overlap with Gold Cup games.

Dempsey's suspension will end after Seattle's MLS game against Portland on June 28 with the U.S getting their Gold Cup under way on July 7 against Honduras.