Sergio Agüero has told Manchester City that he was spat at and verbally abused by a Wigan Athletic fan during the pitch invasion following their FA Cup fifth-round tie and is reserving the right to take legal action.
The Football Association launched its investigation into the match and its aftermath and announced on Tuesday night that Agüero will not face any disciplinary action for his reaction.
The FA is mindful of the circumstances under which Agüero responded and the provocation he faced. It is understood that the forward has not ruled out legal action against the supporter involved in the incident and it remains to be seen whether the police intervene with a charge of common assault. Wigan have promised to ban the fan when he is identified.
Despite not charging him the FA has reminded Agüero of his responsibilities after video footage showed him raising his arm to push away the supporter as hundreds of fans invaded the pitch following Wigan’s dramatic 1-0 win at the DW Stadium.
The FA has, however, charged both Wigan and City for failing to control their players following the first-half dismissal of Fabian Delph. Both sets of players crowded around referee Anthony Taylor.
The governing body has also asked both clubs for their observations following the crowd trouble that marred the tie. They have until 6pm on Friday to respond.
What happened in the tunnel after Delph's red card? pic.twitter.com/izey05FdBi— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 20, 2018
No action is being taken against any other player or official or member of club staff which means that sanctions are not being brought over the behaviour of City manager Pep Guardiola or Wigan manager Paul Cook after they clashed angrily following Delph’s red card and then in the tunnel at half-time.
Agüero met with City officials on Tuesday morning and informed them of what happened. The striker told them the fan shouted abuse at him before spitting in his ear which prompted his angry reaction. Footage shows that Agüero was talking to Wigan defender Chey Dunkley when the fan ran at him.
The forward’s argument is that he was simply defending himself against the fan’s aggression although he was also clearly angry and reacted to something which he said was the spitting. Dunkley along with City assistant manager Mikel Arteta intervened to help shepherd Aguero away.
City are annoyed at the way the pitch invasion was allowed to continue and will speak to Wigan in the coming days over their concerns that their players were put at risk.
The Premier League club consider the stewarding at the match to have been inadequate.
Beyond the Agüero incident there is concern that Wigan fans were allowed to run over to the City away end and goad the 4,000 visiting supporters. Objects were thrown by both sets of fans and the City supporters reacted furiously, ripping up advertising hoardings.
The FA received the report of match referee Taylor who sent off Delph, showing him a straight red card for a challenge on Max Power. The City full-back now has to serve a three-match ban which rules him out of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Arsenal and league fixtures against against Arsenal and Chelsea.
The FA has examined the furious clash between Guardiola and Cook. The match was televised live by the BBC and their footage showed Guardiola confronting Cook before Peter Reid, a member of Wigan’s coaching staff, pulled the latter away. However having studied the available footage the FA has decided that no misconduct charge needed to be brought.
Wigan, who now face Southampton in the FA Cup quarter-finals, have announced they will hold their own investigation with chairman David Sharpe confirming they will work with the FA and police.
Sharpe said the League One club will look at “who is responsible for what, and will take action if we need to” and added: “Football is an emotional game, it can do strange things to people and last night that seemed to be the case.”
In a statement Wigan chief executive Jonathan Jackson said the club were “disappointed with the action of a minority of supporters who acted in an inappropriate manner” and “will conduct a full investigation”. City are also co-operating fully with the police investigation.
Greater Manchester police chief superintendent Stuart Ellison said: “Football is a family event and the disruption that players and fans alike faced will not be tolerated.”
Two people were arrested outside the stadium on suspicion of affray following the match.
On the pitch Will Grigg’s goal ended City’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple of trophies.