Cardiff face being without Craig Bellamy for a critical period of their battle for Premier League survival after the striker was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.
Bellamy clashed with Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman in Saturday’s south Wales derby, appearing to catch the Dutchman with his arm as he ran past him during the second half of Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat.
The incident was not seen by referee Andre Marriner and his fellow officials, and an FA statement read: “Cardiff City’s Craig Bellamy has been charged by The FA for violent conduct following an incident which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.’’
Bellamy has until 6pm tonight to respond to the charge. Should the former Wales striker choose to accept it he will face a three-match ban and miss home Premier League meetings with Aston Villa and Hull, either side of this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Wigan.
Cardiff sit 19th in the table and, with an inferior goal difference to the sides above them, are effectively four points from safety ahead of tonight’s clash with Paul Lambert’s Villa.
The decision is unlikely to have impressed Bluebirds manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who accused De Guzman of over-reacting, something rejected out of hand by Swansea head coach Garry Monk.
The decision to charge Bellamy came after a three-man panel of former elite referees reviewed footage of the clash and agreed unanimously that it constituted violent conduct and a sending-off offence.
But, speaking prior to confirmation of the FA charge, Solskjaer had claimed there was no need for any action to be taken and that Marriner has seen the incident.
He said: “For me it was absolutely nothing. If that was me going down like that, my dad would have had something to say. But then again you can look at (Angel) Rangel when he kicks (Wilfried) Zaha in the first half. Nothing is mentioned about that. But that’s just football.
“The referee saw it, they just ran into each other. I have spoken to Craig, we speak about loads of things and it is just one of those things when you run into each other. No problem.’’
Monk, unsurprisingly, disagreed with Solskjaer’s criticism of De Guzman, but was unconcerned as to whether any disciplinary action was taken.
“It isn’t our problem. I didn’t notice it at the time,’’ he said. “I just saw that Jonathan and Kim (Bo-kyung) were down and Ashley Williams had kicked the ball out of play.
“Jonathan isn’t complaining about anything. If anyone else wants to take it any further then that is up to them.
“I don’t think Jonathan made too much of it. He took a blow to the back of the head. I think it’s off the mark to say he made a meal out of it. He’s happy and he didn’t complain to me about anything.
“We’ll just get on with our job and let Cardiff worry about it,” Monk added.