John Terry has less than two weeks to respond to the Football Association's improper conduct charge, brought for his remarks about referee Graham Poll after the Premiership champions' defeat at Tottenham.
The Chelsea and England captain, who claimed Poll had given him conflicting reasons for his sending-off at White Hart Lane on November 5, was last night given until December 15 to either accept or deny his comments constitute improper conduct.
If found guilty, Terry is likely to face a fine, rather than be suspended.
The Football Association have come out firmly on Poll's side and have also formally cleared the match official of allegations he told Blues players the club 'needed to be taught a lesson'.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was warned over his post-match comments about Poll's performance, but will face no further action after being sent a letter reminding him of his responsibilities.
The FA said in a statement: 'John Terry claimed in an interview with Chelsea TV, which was subsequently widely reported, that Graham Poll had given him conflicting reasons for his second yellow card, saying: `On the pitch, Graham Poll said to me that it was for the barge on [Hossam] Ghaly where I just kept running.
'`Then, after the game, he then said to me it was for the fall when me and Ledley King fell so, you know, he's obviously had a look at it, or got people to look at it and decided that's probably the best option for him and it covers every angle for him.'
'This claim is denied by Graham Poll. The charge has been brought on the basis that John Terry's comments question Graham Poll's integrity and therefore constitute improper conduct.'
Poll has also been cleared by the FA of saying anything inappropriate towards Chelsea players during the same match - Ashley Cole claimed the official had told Frank Lampard Chelsea needed a lesson to improve their discipline.
The FA added: 'Responses sought from Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Chelsea FC and the match officials confirm that Poll did not say that Chelsea needed `to be taught a lesson'. There will no action against any parties on this matter.
'Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been reminded of his responsibilities for media comments related to Poll's performance in the same match and asked to use the relevant official channels to give feedback on the performance of referees. He will not face any formal disciplinary action.'
The row sparked further controversies when referees chief Keith Hackett agreed to meet Mourinho - leading Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to question whether Chelsea were being afforded preferential treatment.