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Premier League

Wright-Phillips V-sign sparks investigation

The Football Association was yesterday seeking a television recording of the incident at Middlesbrough on Wednesday night showing Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips aiming an apparent two-fingered gesture at the Boro manager, Gareth Southgate.

If there is footage, as opposed to photographic stills, the FA will then proceed and could charge Wright-Phillips with misconduct.

Referee Lee Mason did not see the incident early in the second half and did not include the altercation, which Southgate later confirmed, in his match report. Without that the FA are reluctant to rely solely on a photograph that does not give the full context of the situation.

Should footage be available, the FA would then ask Wright-Phillips to explain his actions and only then would they charge him if they were unsatisfied.

Southgate played down the incident in his post-match comments on Wednesday and said that he and Wright-Phillips had spoken "in the tunnel" about it and that the issue was now "finished" in the minds of both men.

Southgate felt that the City winger had gone to ground a little too easily during a challenge and had won a free- kick. This happened directly in front of Southgate's technical area and Wright-Phillips obviously took exception to what Southgate said. Wright-Phillips may have responded verbally at first but then as he moved up the touchline he was seen to raise two fingers to Southgate.

"He wasn't very happy with what I said," Southgate said later. "We were both in the wrong but it's finished now."

If Wright-Phillips were to be charged and found guilty it would be further unwanted news for City after a run of five league games with just one win. City go to Bolton on Sunday, then host a refreshed Tottenham the following weekend.

Including the two goals in the defeat at Middlesbrough, City have conceded 16 goals in 10 games – the worst in the Premier League's top 10 – and manager Mark Hughes said that has to be addressed. "We needed to be a little bit more solid," Hughes said. "I think away from home at times we've left ourselves a little bit exposed."