Bastian Schweinsteiger faces a three-match ban if found guilty.

FA charge Bastian Schweinsteiger for alleged elbow on Winston Reid

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for an alleged elbow on Winston Reid in Manchester United's goalless draw against West Ham.

Schweinsteiger stuck out his left arm and caught Reid in the throat as both players jostled for position in the build-up to a first-half free-kick.

Referee Mark Clattenburg spoke to both players to calm them down, but did not see the apparent elbow and it was therefore not mentioned in his post-match report.

That left the FA free to punish the midfielder retrospectively.

An FA statement read: "Bastian Schweinsteiger has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

"The Manchester United midfielder was involved in an incident with West Ham United's Winston Reid in the 40th minute of the game on Saturday (December 5, 2015).

"The matter was referred to a panel of three former elite referees who each reviewed the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they considered it a sending-off offence.

"For an FA charge to follow the decision by the panel must be unanimous.

"The player has until 12 noon on Thursday 10 December 2015 to reply to the charge."

The 31-year-old is facing a three-match ban if found guilty.

Already hampered by a lengthy injury list, United cannot afford to lose the influential player for their next three league games, which are against Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke.

Schweinsteiger was prevented from speaking about the incident at United's pre-match press conference in Wolfsburg on Monday evening.

"We're here to talk about the game," a United official said when a reporter asked the German about the clash with Reid.

The West Ham defender insisted on Saturday that the elbow was intentional.

"He knows what he's done - he's elbowed me in the face," Reid said after the game.

And West Ham manager Slaven Bilic insisted the player should have been sent off.

He said: "It's a clear red card. A straight red without any doubts. It was a moment of madness.

"He deserved to be sent off, but the referee told me he didn't see it. Fair enough, I believe it. It was an elbow."

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