Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has appeared to issue a damning assessment of the Football Association's decision to ban him for three games by posting a picture of clowns on his Instagram account.
Skrtel was suspended after being judged guilty of a stamp on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. The defender and Liverpool have been told that the charge against him was considered "proven".
Although the FA has strict guidelines regarding players' use of social media, Skrtel's response was suitably ambiguous enough to ensure that he will not receive a further charge.
A meeting of the FA's independent panel yesterday confirmed the original decision to penalise Skrtel, who will now miss the Premier League games against Arsenal and Newcastle United, in addition to an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackburn Rovers.
Skrtel, 30, was not at the disciplinary meeting yesterday but a written defence presented on his behalf insisted that his clash with De Gea was accidental. He was adamant that there was no deliberate attempt to hurt his rival during the incident in the fifth minute of injury time during Liverpool's 2-1 defeat by United.
Skrtel had been charged under breach of rule E3, and although contesting the ban could have resulted in a longer suspension, that now happens rarely.
Martin Atkinson, the match referee, said that his view of the incident was obstructed, thus enabling video -footage to be reviewed.
Liverpool will now be without at least two key players for their next three games, with Steven Gerrard also absent after being sent off for a stamp on Ander Herrera.
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, will hope that Lucas Leiva returns from injury to assist in midfield - he has missed the past month with a thigh problem but is training again - while Kolo Toure and Dejan Lovren are options to replace Skrtel.
An FA statement read: "Liverpool's Martin Skrtel will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after a charge of violent conduct against him was found proven.
"The defender had denied the charge which related to an on-field incident involving Manchester -United's David de Gea in the 95th minute of Sunday's game which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
"However, an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today found the charge proven."