Chelsea's Reece James, sidelined by injury, faces FA charges for alleged abusive language towards an official following defeat to Aston Villa.
Chelsea captain Reece James faces disciplinary action from the Football Association (FA) following his involvement in a post-match altercation on Sunday, despite nursing an injury at the time.
The 23-year-old defender, sidelined due to a hamstring injury, was not part of the squad that suffered a defeat to Aston Villa.
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The FA charge relates to allegations of "improper and/or insulting and/or abusive words and/or behaviour towards a match official" that occurred in the tunnel after the game concluded.
This behaviour is a breach of FA Rule E3, prompting the association to take formal action against the Chelsea captain.
"Reece James has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 following Chelsea's Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday, 24 September. It's alleged that the defender used improper and/or insulting and/or abusive words and/or behaviour towards a match official in the tunnel after the game," the FA said in a statement.
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James has been given until Friday, 29 September, to respond to these serious allegations. Failure to provide a satisfactory response could result in further sanctions imposed on the player, who is crucial to Chelsea's defense.
The match in question was not without controversy, with a significant incident occurring in the second half. Malo Gusto of Chelsea received a straight red card following a review by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Gusto’s challenge on Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne was deemed dangerous, warranting his dismissal from the match.
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Initially, the referee awarded Gusto a yellow card for his tackle on Digne, but this decision was overturned after consulting the VAR monitor pitch-side. The corrected decision led to the player's expulsion from the game.
Chelsea's head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, was reluctant to comment on the red card incident during the post-match press conference. He opted to maintain a neutral stance, expressing trust in the judgment of the referees and VAR technology without directly addressing the contentious challenge.
"Being honest, it was in front of me but I didn't see and now I still didn't see. I can't say it wasn't a red card, we need to trust in the referees and VAR. Difficult to judge because I didn't see it," Pochettino stated, leaving his opinion on the matter intentionally vague.
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Reece James' charge adds to the woes of Chelsea, who not only lost an important game but also have to navigate through the consequences of the contentious decisions made during the match