FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Dele Alli over his gesture during England’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.
Alli gestured with his middle finger during the 2-1 victory at Wembley on Monday, an act he claims was directed towards team-mate and friend Kyle Walker.
“We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened following this incident. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage,” a FIFA spokesperson said.
Alli said after the match it had been directed humorously at Walker, not referee Clement Turpin, while Walker later continued the joke by posting a well-known video of ‘Mr Bean’ repeatedly making the gesture from his car.
“Look at Mr Bean, no? All the people laugh about that and Dele was joking with Kyle Walker too. Come on. We need to censor Mr Bean,” Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.
“I respect every single opinion but from my point of view, there is nothing wrong from Dele. He is improving a lot. I am so happy with him. His behaviour is improving a lot.”
Following the game, Southgate was asked about the incident – which came with 13 minutes remaining – and said it was ”mucking about” with close friend Walker.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart offered support for Alli after the 21-year-old Tottenham midfielder came under fire on social media following the broadcast of his actions, while striker Jamie Vardy subsequently brushed off the incident as ”harmless banter” and said it had been ”blown out of proportion”.
Press Association Sport understands the Football Association have more television coverage of the incident, yet to be broadcast, which could be presented to back-up Alli’s stance should it be formally required by the world governing body, who will also have taken into account the view of the referee in his official match report.
Despite the explanations and back-up from both his England team-mates and the FA, Alli is still nevertheless now facing disciplinary action from FIFA, with the sanction of a suspension a possibility as well as a fine.
England won 2-1 at Wembley to move closer to securing their place at next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia with goals from Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford having turned the game around after Southgate’s men fell behind inside three minutes.
The Three Lions return to action at home against Slovenia on October 5 and need only two points from their remaining two Group F qualifiers to secure a place at the 2018 World Cup.
FIFA’s disciplinary process regarding the incident involving Alli would be expected to have been completed one way or another before next month’s match at Wembley, which the Spurs midfielder could yet be forced to miss if any ban is indeed handed out.