Chelsea captain Reece James has been charged by the Football Association over an alleged incident in the tunnel after Saturday’s defeat by Aston Villa.
England defender James, 23, did not feature in the match because of injury.
The FA said: “It’s alleged that the defender used improper and/or insulting and/or abusive words and/or behaviour towards a match official in the tunnel after the game.”
James has until 29 September to respond to a charge of breaching FA rule E3.
James reportedly confronted referee Jarred Gillett after the 1-0 defeat by Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Right-back James picked up a hamstring problem in training last month having struggled with injuries throughout the 2022-23 campaign.
Chelsea were reduced to 10 men against Villa on 24 September as a goal from Ollie Watkins ensured their stuttering start to the season continued.
The Blues have just five points in six Premier League games under new manager Mauricio Pochettino – their worst start to a season in eight years – and are languishing in 14th place.
French defender Malo Gusto was sent off in the 58th minute for dangerous play after the video assistant referee (VAR) encouraged referee Gillett to check the pitchside monitor.
Gusto was initially shown a yellow card for a tackle on Villa defender Lucas Digne by Gillett, but the official upgraded it to a red.