Chelsea defender Reece James charged by the FA after alleged altercation with match official

FILE -Chelsea's Reece James passes the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, April 1, 2023. (David Cliff/AP)

LONDON (AP) — Chelsea defender Reece James has been charged by the FA for an alleged altercation with a match official, English soccer’s governing body said Wednesday.

The incident is said to have occurred after Chelsea’s 1-0 loss against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

“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.

James has been given until Friday to respond to the charge.

The England international did not play in the game at Stamford Bridge because of injury.

Instead he watched on as Chelsea defender Malo Gusto was sent off in the second half and Villa’s Ollie Watkins went on to score the only goal of the game.

Chelsea has endured a miserable start to the season, which has seen the 2021 Champions League winners secure only one win in six league games under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

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