Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand suffered a facial injury from a coin thrown by a fan during the closing stages of Sunday's 3-2 derby win at rivals Manchester City.
The centre-half was celebrating his side's late winner by Robin van Persie but was left with a gash above his eye after the incident, which is now being investigated by the Football Association as well as the police.
An FA spokesman said: "It is disappointing that after a great game and advert for the Premier League that we are discussing this issue.
"We will work with the clubs and authorities to identify those responsible and support the strongest sanctions available, including life bans.
"We condemn any such acts and it is simply unacceptable that any player is exposed to injury in this way. 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 stadia 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."
A Manchester City statement earlier read: "We apologise to Rio. We condemn the actions of the individual concerned.
"We are reviewing the CCTV with the police and our normal security. We will support the police with any investigation and hopefully identify the person as soon as possible."
Ferdinand, who held an object in his hand at the final whistle and proceeded to show it to referee Martin Atkinson before throwing it to the ground, downplayed the incident.
He wrote on Twitter: "What a result, 3 points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin!"
But United manager Sir Alex Ferguson condemned the ugly denouement.
"We were very determined to win but it's unfortunate toward the end that the City fan runs on and throws coins at our players. I don't think you need that," he said.
"The same thing happened at Chelsea which was masked really by all the other things that happened. Two fantastic teams today, I think, and a fantastic game of football and it could do without that."
There were further unsavoury scenes in the Etihad Stadium in the final minutes of the match with one supporter running on to the pitch to confront the players.
Greater Manchester Police also revealed that one man had been arrested inside the stadium on "suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence after officers heard racist chanting".
what do you think?
good lockem up
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As much as I dissaprove of the thuggish behaviour of launching missiles from the stands, Ferdinand shouldn't of tried to wind up the city fans by celebrating infront of them. I'm a neutral fan and don't like either team, but it was a stupid idea to throw something, even more stupid to wind them up