Why Chelsea captain Reece James could be banned despite not playing
The bad news rarely stops at Stamford Bridge. A torrid start to the campaign has been made worse by constant injuries. Captain Reece James is among those currently on the treatment table, and he is expected to be out until at least late October.
Yet, despite not featuring in the Blues' recent loss against Aston Villa, James could now face a ban for his actions on the occasion of that game. The FA has released a statement in which it accuses the defender of having hurled abusive language at an official in the tunnel at Stamford Bridge.
"Reece James," the statement read, "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. Reece James has until Friday, 29 September, to provide a response to this charge.”
James vs Gillet
The Blues captain is said to have confronted match official Jarred Gillet in the aftermath of yet another chastening loss. Ollie Watkins had given Villa all three points with a late goal.
It was Chelsea's second 1-0 home loss against a team they would be expected to beat this season, having already suffered the same result at the hands of Nottingham Forest at the start of September.
The exact extent of the punishment James could face is not yet known, but a ban is a distinct possibility. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was handed a two-game suspension and a £75,000 fine for "improper conduct" towards an official back in May.
After losing three of their first six games of the season, Chelsea are currently languishing in 14th in the Premier League standings. The Blues can ill-afford losing their captain for an even longer period of time.