Didier Drogba has been charged with violent conduct by the FA for throwing a coin back into the crowd during Chelsea's Carling Cup fourth-round defeat against Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The striker was prevented from celebrating his first goal of the season when an object was thrown on to the pitch and, despite apologising for slinging it back, Drogba is facing disciplinary action. Referee Kieth Stroud booked the 30-year-old at the time of the incident but that was for celebrating in front of the away fans - he did not see the missile throwing incident.
The FA, who have also written to Burnley to request information, said in a statement: "Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has been charged with violent conduct. Drogba is alleged to have thrown a missile into the away section of the crowd after scoring during the League Cup match at Stamford Bridge.''
Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief Gordon Taylor expects the Ivory Coast international to be given a three-match ban by the FA.
"He's done something that's against the rules required of players, and a similar situation resulted in a three-match ban for Jamie Carragher," Taylor said.
"So it would be very difficult to avoid an accusation that the FA are inconsistent if they don't follow that line."
In 2002, Liverpool defender Carragher was sent off in an FA Cup tie against Arsenal at Highbury after throwing a coin back into the crowd. He received a mandatory three-match ban and was also interviewed by police; but no further action was taken other than a verbal warning.
A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police has confirmed that the Football Unit at Fulham police station are also investigating the Drogba incident but added that no-one has been arrested.
An FA spokesman said: "The priority now is to work with the clubs and the police to identify the individuals involved. The FA wants anyone found guilty of throwing missiles to face the strongest possible action. That includes life bans from attending football matches.''
"Players should be able to play football without fearing for their personal safety. It is totally unacceptable for players to be put in danger by supporters throwing missiles onto the pitch."
Meanwhile Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has said it is only right Drogba should be punished and that the Ivory Coast star will deserve the penalty that comes his way.
"It is very difficult," he said. "Players take a lot of abuse on occasion. Friendly banter you can take but the personal stuff is much harder and coin-throwing is totally unacceptable.
"What you can never do is react because you know the consequences. Didier Drogba has already apologised for his actions. It is an emotional game, maybe the emotions took over.
"But I think he understands there will be consequences and that is how it should be."