A statement on TheFA.com read:
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been charged by The FA with making an offensive and/or insulting and/or abusive gesture.
The charge follows an alleged gesture made during the fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 14 December. The incident was not seen by match officials but was caught on video.
Wilshere has been charged retrospectively by The FA under a new pilot project for potential ‘not seen’ incidents in Premier League matches.
The FA had originally intended to ban Wilshere for two games for the gesture.
Wilshere has accepted the charge but has decided to contest what he and Arsenal clearly believe to be an unnecessarily harsh sanction.
Wilshere has a point: In 2011, Liverpool's Luis Suarez was given a one-match ban for an identical gesture towards Fulham fans. Similarly, in January 2012, James Morrison of West Brom managed to escape the FA's attention entirely despite being caught on camera making an obscene gesture at Stoke City fans as he celebrated a crucial winning goal.
A two-match ban is not, however, unprecedented. Shortly after Morrison escaped censure, Grimsby Town's Anthony Elding was suspended for two games for a very similar incident.
Clearly, there is an issue of inconsistency. The FA have handed out varying punishments for seemingly identical offences.
Wilshere's sense of injustice is understandable but escaping a ban of some kind looks impossible. It is merely a question of whether he'll miss one or two games.
Arsenal would be loath to lose him at this vital stage of the season. From next week, the Gunners face four games in nine days. These are not easy matches either: Arsene Wenger's side will come up against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, a hugely physical West Ham, in-form Newcastle and Malky Mackay's tenacious Cardiff City.
Wenger will want to rotate in that period and having Wilshere at his disposal would certainly be useful: The Englishman has shown himself to be a versatile squad member this season, playing in a variety of roles within the team. He has figured on both the left and right wing, as well as in his usual central midfield position.
However, there might be a positive spin to an enforced lay-off: Against Manchester City, Wilshere looked like a player who might benefit from a spell on the sidelines.
According to Squawka, Wilshere succeeded in just one of five attempted take-ons at the Etihad. He was a far cry from the box-to-box driving force Arsenal fans know he can be. A rest could be just what the doctor ordered.
Wilshere will be loath to come out of first-team contention, but the ban might not be a complete disaster. A short break could see Wilshere return in the new year with renewed vigour.
James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013/14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.