LONDON (AP) – Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was charged by the English Football Association on Tuesday for making an abusive gesture toward Manchester City fans during a Premier League match.
Television cameras spotted the England international raising his middle finger in the direction of City supporters in the 69th minute of Saturday's game at Etihad Stadium, which Arsenal lost 6-3.
The incident wasn't seen by match officials but the FA has charged Wilshere retrospectively ''with making an offensive and/or insulting and/or abusive gesture'' after a three-man panel studied video footage.
"Wilshere has been charged retrospectively by the FA under a new pilot project for potential 'not seen' incidents in Premier League matches," the governing body said in a statement. '"Under the new process, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel will be asked by the FA to review it and advise what, if any action, they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time. In this instance, the panel were unanimous."
Wilshere has until Wednesday to respond to the charge. He is facing a one-match ban, the punishment Liverpool striker Luis Suarez received for the same offense during a league game at Fulham in December 2011.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said after the City match that he didn't see Wilshere's gesture but added ''if he did it, we will have to accept it.''
Such sanctions have been implemented in the past as was the case with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was suspended for one match, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he made a gesture to home fans as he walked off the pitch following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham in December 2011.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted in his post-match press conference that the club would accept any ban handed out "if he did it." If that is the case, then Wilshere is likely to miss the visit of Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium next Monday.