Roberto Mancini warned over touchline antics

You card shark! FA tell Mancini to cut out touchline antics or face ban

Roberto Mancini will run the risk of FA sanction if he keeps waving imaginary red cards at referees.

The Manchester City manager has upset English football traditionalists by appearing to encourage referees to send off opponents.

After criticising Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney for allegedly encouraging Chris Foy to send off City captain Vincent Kompany 10 days ago, Mancini has twice been spotted doing the same.

Card trick: Roberto Mancini gestures a card to referee Martin Atkinson

Card trick: Roberto Mancini gestures a card to referee Martin Atkinson

He waved an imaginary card at Martin Atkinson on Monday after a handball by Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa denied City striker Sergio Aguero a run on goal.

It is understood that FA officials have been watching the Italian’s behaviour and have taken a dim view.

Though the FA will not act now, they will do so if Mancini does it again in the coming week when City play big games against Tottenham, in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday, and Liverpool in the Carling Cup semi-final, second leg three days later.

Though Mancini has apologised in the past for this habit, he did not when asked about it after Monday’s 1-0 win at Wigan, which took City three points clear at the top.

Come on ref! Mancini was seen to be complaining as City beat Wigan

Come on ref! Mancini was seen to be complaining as City beat Wigan

He merely suggested he could not influence officials, as he believes Rooney did, as he is standing much further away.

Privately, Mancini is known to feel that his team are getting a rough deal from referees. He feels a lack of consistency is not helping at a time when his squad are stretched by injury, suspension and Africa Cup of Nations absentees.

But some figures in English football are growing tired of Mancini’s antics.

Last week at the Etihad Stadium, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard confronted him about the issue after Mancini waved an imaginary card following a tackle by Glen Johnson on Joleon Lescott.

Poor form: Steven Gerrard took offence to Mancini's touchline antics

Poor form: Steven Gerrard took offence to Mancini's touchline antics

On Tuesday, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy joined the debate.

McCarthy, preparing his team for Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay at home to Birmingham, said: ‘It’s something I don’t like. I don’t think anyone should do it. It is wrong. I’m sure that, if it is pointed out, he won’t do it again.

‘There is a cultural difference but Roberto is in this country now.’

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton added: ‘It’s not something we want to see. We ask those on the pitch not to do it because we feel it’s not a good part of the game.’