LONDON • Leicester City's title hopes have been dealt a major setback by the Football Association confirming that Jamie Vardy has been charged with improper conduct following his reaction to the red card he received against West Ham on Sunday.
As such, the club's leading goalscorer is likely to have his mandatory one-match suspension extended by another game.
Vardy is automatically banned for Swansea City's visit on Sunday but the England international now faces the prospect of having to sit out the trip to Manchester United the following week.
Jon Moss, the referee at the centre of so many controversial decisions during the 2-2 draw with West Ham, mentioned in his report that he was unhappy with the forward's response to his dismissal as he left the King Power Stadium pitch.
Moss, whose handling of the game has been widely criticised, has effectively thrown the book at Leicester.
As well as the case brought against Vardy, the FA has also charged the Foxes with failure to control their players after the 83rd-minute penalty that was awarded to West Ham when Wes Morgan was penalised for grappling with Winston Reid.
Both player and club have until 6pm tomorrow (1am on Friday, Singapore time) to reply to the charges.
The real concern for Leicester, however, surrounds Vardy and how they will cope without the services of their most influential player if his suspension is indeed increased.
Vardy has been an ever-present factor in the league, starting every game of the campaign. He has 22 goals, including three in his past two matches. He has created 45 chances and has six assists.
He is their talisman and central to their style of play, whether breaking with pace on the counterattack, stretching defences, or pressing aggressively from the front.
"Vardy has been one of the best players in the league, but Leo (Ulloa, who scored the equaliser against West Ham with a stoppage-time penalty) came on against West Ham and got a point for us, that was a lot of pressure for anyone," team-mate Danny Simpson said. "Other players have scored in the team and, before last week, Vards hadn't scored for five or six games, so we'll deal with it.
"We've other players who can come in. Just look at the game - Jeff (Schlupp) came on and won us a penalty and Leo came on and scored.
"Dema (Demarai Gray) has come on in the last few weeks and showed for a young lad his maturity, and he's an attacking threat. So I'm sure we'll cope with it well."