Three British football players, including Manchester United’s Federico Macheda, have been charged by the Football Association for using homophobic language on Twitter.
Macheda, on loan to Queen’s Park Rangers, Newcastle forward Nile Ranger and Walsall’s Manny Smith allegedly acted in a way which was 'improper or brought the game into disrepute', including 'a reference to a person's or persons' sexual orientation'.
The trio have until 4pm on Wednesday to respond.
The Manchester United player, 20, said to a Twitter user called Sam Capps, @cappsy14, ‘shhhhhhh you stupid little gay!’
The tweet has since been deleted, as well as the other offending messages.
Capps later tweeted: ‘He shouldn’t have said it as a professional footballer.’
The FA have said to all players that comments on Twitter or other social networking sites which make 'reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability may be considered aggravated and attract a higher disciplinary sanction.'
Morrison was fined £7000 for calling someone a ‘little faggot’, and Ball was forced to pay £6000 for calling soap actor Anthony Cotton a ‘fucking queer’.
The FA have recently launched a new initiative to tackle homophobia and met with David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, and campaign group Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) at a summit last week.