Charlie Austin has been charged by the Football Association for allegedly making an “abusive and/or insulting” gesture as he was leaving the pitch during Southampton’s defeat to Manchester City.
The incident concerns Austin’s conduct as he was substituted for Shane Long in the 68th minute of the 3-1 loss to City at St Mary’s on December 30.
The FA said in a short statement on its website: “Southampton’s Charlie Austin has been charged following the game against Manchester City on Sunday [30 December 2018].
“It is alleged that Mr Austin’s gesture in or around the 68th minute of the fixture was abusive and/or insulting.”
Austin, who has scored only twice in the Premier League this season, was booked 10 minutes before his substitution and appeared to be jeered by some supporters as he made his way off the pitch.
The 29-year-old has until 6pm on January 7 to respond to the FA’s charge.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes the forward will not be hit with a suspension.
Hasenhuttl said at a press conference: “He knows it was not the best signal he could give and we will talk about this.
“I hope there is no suspension, just a fine, and hope that it (punishment) is not that hard.”