London: Wigan's woeful start to the season got worse on Monday as Antolin Alcaraz was charged by the Football Association (FA) with spitting at Wolves defender Richard Stearman during Sunday's 3-1 defeat.
The 29-year-old Paraguayan international defender, signed from Belgian side Club Brugge last year after an eye-catching World Cup campaign, has only just returned to action after being out with a torn leg muscle.
"Wigan Athletic's Antolin Alcaraz has today been charged by The FA for spitting at an opponent," read an FA statement.
"The incident, which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video, relates to his side's game against Wolverhampton Wanderers."
Alcaraz has until Tuesday evening to respond to the charge. If he admits to it he will receive a three-match ban, but risks a lengthier ban if he is found guilty at a hearing.
Television cameras appeared to catch Alcaraz spitting at Stearman, provoking a melee, and his behaviour was condemned by Wolves manager Mick McCarthy.
"Spitting is taboo, if that's what happened," he said.
"I only had it happen to me once and the player didn't come too close to me for a long time. If it has been shown, that is unacceptable behaviour."
Stearman confirmed that it had been him and not team-mate Christophe Berra who had been spat at.
"It wasn't Berra, I'll give you that, but I don't think it's right for me to talk about it at the moment," he said.
"Yes (I was spat at), but I'm not going to speak about it."
Wigan only escaped relegation on the final day of last season and face another long battle to avoid the drop this time as they have won just once in 11 matches this term and are five points adrift of safety.