Rio Ferdinand has denied a Football Association charge of improper conduct following comments he made on Twitter at the end of the John Terry trial.
In the aftermath of last month's trial, when Terry was acquitted of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton, the Manchester United defender responded to a tweet that characterised Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, who was a defence witness, as a "choc-ice".
The term is slang to mean "black on the outside, white on the inside", and was a reference to Cole's testimony in court, in which he said he never heard Terry make a racist remark to Anton Ferdinand during the match in question at Loftus Road in October.
Ferdinand was charged on Monday and a statement on the FA's website, www.thefa.com, read: "Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand has denied an FA charge of improper conduct in relation to comments posted on Twitter.
"The allegation is that the player acted in a way which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute by making comments which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.
"The player has requested a personal hearing."
It is understood the FA would prefer to deal with the matter before the new Premier League season gets underway on August 18.
However, with United about to embark on the second stage of their pre-season tour, it could easily spill into another season, 10 months after the initial altercation.
Earlier this week, FA chairman David Bernstein declared his intention to get tough with any action that brought the game into disrepute, making specific reference to postings on Twitter.
However, at the same Wembley conference, influential Kick it Out anti-racism campaigner Lord Ousley said he was surprised Ferdinand had been charged because he had not instigated the Twitter conversation in the first place.
It is expected this would be a major component of Ferdinand's defence.
Precedent suggests Ferdinand is not thought to be at risk of an early season suspension.
Earlier this year, the 33-year-old's Manchester United team-mate Federico Macheda was fined £15,000 and warned about his future conduct after posting a homophobic Tweet.
And this week, Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong was fined £6,000 for an anti-semitic Tweet.