Chelsea captain Reece James was charged by the FA for confronting the referee after the Villa loss. The Defender could be banned after approaching an official in the tunnel.
The incident is said to have occurred when James, who was ruled out of the game, challenged the referee, Jarred Gillett, in the Stamford Bridge tunnel during a tense match versus Villa.
Chelsea were dissatisfied with Gillett after a VAR review led to Malo Gusto getting sent off for a challenge on Lucas Digne, with the score still 0-0 at the start of the second half.
James and Chelsea were dissatisfied with Gillett after a VAR review resulted in Malo Gusto being sent off for a challenge on Lucas Digne, with the score still locked at 0-0 at the start of the second half.
“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. “Reece James has until Friday, September 29 to provide a response to this charge.”
The referee had earlier provoked Chelsea by only playing two of the allotted three minutes at the end of the first half, but news of the FA charging James will raise further questions for Mauricio Pochettino over his young squad’s discipline.
Pochettino needs James to set a better example after naming the England international as Chelsea’s new captain at the start of the season despite his hamstring ailment.
However, James is risking a ban or a large punishment after getting into trouble with the police. Chelsea would be extremely frustrated if the 23-year-old, who has until Friday to reply to the charge, is unable to play quickly after regaining fitness.
While this type of case can be resolved quickly, James receiving a non-standard charge reduces the odds of a speedy decision and reduces the defender’s chances of facing a ban while out injured if he is found guilty. It is quite improbable that a decision will be made before Chelsea’s match against Fulham.
It is believed that James, who is only a few weeks away from regaining fitness, will be required to appear before an independent panel for a disciplinary hearing.
A pause in proceedings might work against Chelsea, whose final game before the international break is on October 7 at Burnley.
Pochettino’s team, currently 14th in the Premier League, will face a difficult run of fixtures when club football returns, and they will be anxious to have James available.
James has been plagued by injuries over the last two years and has not featured since Chelsea’s 1-1 tie with Liverpool on the first day of the season.
Chelsea signed Gusto to give him backup, but his ban leaves Pochettino without a designated right-back for the games against Fulham and Burnley. Axel Disasi is expected to start on the right.