THE Football Association has opened an investigation after Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin and confronted by a supporter on the pitch during a stormy Manchester derby.
Manchester City offered its apologies to Ferdinand on Sunday night and condemned the incidents.
''Security officials are co-operating fully with [police] in relation to events leading up to the throwing of missiles onto the field of play, and between the two sets of supporters,'' the club said.
Hurt: United's Rio Ferdinand. Photo: AP
FA officials will await reports from referee Martin Atkinson and its crowd control adviser, but City is likely to face sanction for the failure of its stewards to prevent the pitch invasion and also the missile attack on Ferdinand. The FA will support the handing out of life bans to those supporters responsible for the ''appalling'' behaviour.
''We condemn any such acts and it is simply unacceptable that any player is exposed to injury in this way,'' an FA spokesperson said. ''To witness Rio Ferdinand leaving the field with a cut above his eye to receive treatment is appalling.
''Football in this country has made great progress over recent decades. However, we must maintain the safety and security inside of our [stadiums] and to do this we need to isolate and identify any individuals guilty of offences with strong penalties to act as a deterrent to others.''
United's 3-2 victory, secured by Robin van Persie's injury-time free kick, was also marred by Greater Manchester Police arresting a supporter on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence after officers heard racist chanting.
It is understood that the racist abuse was not directed at a player from either side, with the arrest being made in relation to an incident between supporters.
Meanwhile, police confirmed that it was aware of ''racist tweets'' directed at Ferdinand and that the force was investigating the matter.