Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over a tweet he sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
He compared a picture of the full-back with an image of the mascot of Spanish chocolate company Conguitos on September 22nd - before deleting it.
Silva has until next Wednesday, October 9th, to appeal the ruling.
Anti-racism organisation Kick It Out had condemned the tweet, saying "racist stereotypes are never acceptable as 'banter'".
City star Raheem Sterling, who has himself regularly strongly condemned racist incidents within football, told Sky Sports after his side's 3-1 win over Everton at the weekend that it had just been a joke between two friends.
"It's a situation that no one needs at this moment in time. It's a situation between two friends, Bernardo and Mendy as everyone knows.
"I can see exactly the point where some people can get touchy-feely on it, but I feel in that situation, Bernardo made a joke to his friend.
"Bernardo is not way inclined. It was a joke between two friends"
Raheem Sterling has backed team-mate Bernardo Silva over the racism row on social media.
More: https://t.co/4XcOhJvqhk pic.twitter.com/IYPIypjOOr
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 29, 2019
"He's not referred to his skin colour, he's not referred to his lips in both pictures, they've both got small heads and the most important thing for me is that he didn't refer to a colour."
Portuguese star Silva later deleted the initial tweet, posting a second tweet which said: "Can't even joke with a friend these days... You Guys..."
Sterling added that Silva had been sorry over the tweet but hadn't intentionally tried to be racist with the post.
"We all know, Benjamin knows, everyone can see that Mendy is a black lad. We've got to be proud to be black as well. If someone refers to our skin colour with an image, I'd be upset about that - we know what skin colour we are.
"They're two really good friends, it's sad to see, I can understand where the criticism has come but I don't feel it was intentional of trying to be racist and that's not because they're my team-mates, it's just how I view them.
"Bernardo's deeply sorry about it, he's not in the wrong for me, but at the same time I can see why people think it's wrong and we've got to be smarter on social media. In this day and age, anything you say can be judged and it's a really sad situation.
"I haven't really been looking into the newspapers. I've seen the situation but the club, as I always would believe, would handle the situation right and I feel the sooner the better the FA can understand there was no intent to be discriminatory, there's not one moment he uses a negative term to talk about his skin colour.
"He tried to make a joke, it wasn't the best one but we've got to move on and understand that it wasn't intentional."
"Are Kick It Out and the FA wrong? Yes."
John Barnes says claims Bernardo Silva posted a racially stereotypical image against a picture of his team-mate Benjamin Mendy are ridiculous: https://t.co/XWS2vSFj10 pic.twitter.com/T0ZfGy7ubX
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 25, 2019
Former Liverpool and England star John Barnes had come out publicly to defend Silva on Sky Sports News.
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
"It's ridiculous. It's a cartoon, and in many respects I've seen it, and I think he looks like a young Mendy. I don't see what the issue is.
"This has got nothing to do with racism. They are friends. Regardless of whether it looks like Mendy or not, why is that offensive?