Karl Oyston could be banned from Bloomfield Road after being charged with five counts of misconduct by the Football Association.
The charges relate to a text exchange between the Blackpool chairman and supporter Steven Smith last December, in which Oyston referred to the fan as a “retard” and told him to “enjoy the rest of your special needs day out”.
After an investigation which lasted almost three months, English football’s governing body released a statement to confirm that the messages allegedly constituted five breaches of its rules.
The statement read: “Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston has been charged by the FA in relation to comments made in a text message exchange.
“It is alleged that the misconduct constituted five breaches of FA rules, and that during the text message exchange Mr Oyston used abusive and/or insulting words towards a supporter of Blackpool FC.
“It is further alleged that each of these five breaches of FA Rule E3(1) is an ‘Aggravated Breach’ as defined in Rule E3(2), as each included a reference to disability.”
A week after the Oyston texts came to light, then Wigan chairman Dave Whelan was suspended from all football-related activities for six weeks and fined £50,000 over remarks he made regarding Jewish and Chinese people in defending his appointment of manager Malky Mackay.
Whelan was found to have breached FA Rule E3(1), whereas Oyston’s alleged misconduct amounts to five breaches of the same rule.
It means Oyston is likely to face a ban from football, which would leave a major power vacuum at Bloomfield Road.
With no chief executive or general manager, any ban would leave the Seasiders woefully short of leadership.
The senior official at Bloomfield Road would be Chris Hough, the club secretary who has recently been standing in as kitman.
Smith, 32, whose text exchange led to the charges, said he was pleased with the developments.
He told The Gazette: “It’s pleasing to see action has been taken by the FA. We are all waiting to see what the punishment will be.
“I don’t think it’s the last we’ve heard from the FA in terms of charges. I think there could be other issues to come to light yet.
“I don’t think the FA could force him to step down (as chairman). I think it will be more like a stadium ban, though there could be more to follow.
“A ban and a heavy fine would probably be sufficient for this offence. We’ve requested any fine has to come from Karl Oyston’s personal funds and not from the club’s money.”
Oyston apologised for the texts in a club statement at Christmas and the chairman has not spoken publicly since, declining all media requests for interviews .
The statement read: “I would like to unreservedly apologise for any offence or distress caused by my text responses reported in the media recently. I regret stooping to the level of those threatening and abusing my family.
“My mobile number was placed on a social media website recently and it led to a barrage of abuse about my mother, father, wife, children and myself.”
Oyston has until 6pm next Monday to respond to the charge.