Newcastle manager Alan Pardew head-butted a player in an English Premier League game against Hull on Saturday, leading to a swift formal warning and $168,000 fine from his club, and the prospect of a lengthy suspension.
The confrontation unfolded in the 72nd minute when Hull midfielder David Meyler barged into Pardew as the player looked to retrieve the ball for a throw-in at KC Stadium. After squaring up to Meyler before moving his head in the direction of the player's face, Pardew was sent to the stands.
FA chairman Greg Dyke described Pardew's actions as ''serious'' after Newcastle's 4-1 win, and said an investigation would be opened.
Pardew's employers reacted quickly, holding talks with the manager and announcing his punishment hours later.
''His behavior was unacceptable and is not the behavior we expect from the manager of Newcastle United,'' the northeast club said on its website.
Pardew, whose job does not appear to be under immediate threat, accepted the formal warning and fine, Newcastle said.
''Alan unreservedly apologized immediately following the game to the player, to Hull City Football Club and its fans, and to the fans of Newcastle United,'' the club statement said. ''We have held discussions this evening with Alan, who has offered his sincere apologies to the club and it is clear he deeply regrets his actions.''
Although Pardew denied head-butting Meyler, he conceded the incident was ''a wake-up call,'' coming after a recent touchline altercation with Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
''(Meyler) was right on top of me and I wanted to just ease him away from me but obviously I put my head in a forward motion,'' Pardew said after the game. ''I want to apologize to him, everyone at Hull and obviously my own fans as well. I don't think it was a head-butt. It wasn't a motion that was quick.
''Sometimes when you're on the sideline like that you can get involved in a moment like that. It was an incident that just flared up all around me. I just wanted to get him away.''
Pardew said he would ''accept whatever comes my way'' as a punishment, and he was likely to be prevented from sitting on the bench for several games by the FA.
Newcastle's statement expressed disappointment that Pardew's behavior took the focus off such a fine attacking performance against Hull. Newcastle was already leading 3-1 at the time of the incident after Moussa Sissoko scored twice on either side of Loic Remy's goal. With Pardew in the stands, Vurnon Anita added the fourth in stoppage time.