Premier League leaders Leicester could be forced to cope without top scorer Jamie Vardy for the next two games after the England striker was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association.
Vardy was charged for his angry reaction to being shown a second yellow card in an incident-filled 2-2 draw at home to West Ham on Sunday. The Foxes were also charged with failing to control their players.
The former non-league star, 29, is already set to miss Sunday’s fixture against Swansea but could now sit out the trip to Manchester United a week later as well.
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He and the club have until Thursday evening to respond to the charges. Leicester’s relates to the reaction of their players to referee Jon Moss awarding West Ham an 84th-minute penalty.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa received an extra one-game suspension and a £20,000 fine for his reaction to being dismissed against Everton earlier this month.
Vardy’s 22 goals have been a key factor in Leicester’s march towards the most unlikely title triumph – Claudio Ranieri’s team were 5000/1 rank outsiders at the start of the season – in English top-flight history.
Moss’s decisions at the King Power Stadium attracted widespread and former referee’s chief Keith Hackett joined the chorus insisting that Vardy’s second booking – for a dive – had been unjustified.
“When it comes to acts of simulation the referee’s got to be 100 per cent,” he said. “There has got to be no level of doubt because you’re actually publicly saying that this player is a cheat.
“If he [Moss] had just shouted ‘play on’ then he would’ve got away with it because there’s an element of doubt. There’s no doubt there was exaggeration in the fall but there was also the possibility of contact.”