Rio Ferdinand has been charged by the Football Association over the comments he made on Twitter following the end of John Terry's recent trial.
In the aftermath of the 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 in the trial, as a 'choc-ice'.
The term is is commonly understood 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 Ferdinand during the match in question at Loftus Road in October.
"The FA has today charged Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand with improper conduct in relation to comments posted on Twitter," said an FA statement.
"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."
Ferdinand has until 4pm on Thursday to respond to the charge.
The move extends still further a case which has cast a dark shadow over the game for over nine months now.
Last week, Terry was charged with improper conduct by the FA for the comments he made to Anton Ferdinand, a charge he has vowed to contest.
Now, Rio Ferdinand must clear his name, or risk a hefty fine or potential suspension ahead of the new Premier League campaign.