By Tom Hayward
Controversial Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli was suspended for one match by the FA on Thursday and fined 25,000 pounds after posting an offensive message on social media.
Earlier this month, the Italian showed a picture on his Instagram account containing racist and anti-Semitic connotations.
“Mario Balotelli has been fined 25,000 pounds, suspended for one match with immediate effect, subject to appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA rules in relation to social media,” the FA said in a statement.
“The charge was that an image the Liverpool player posted on social media was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper.
“The posting was considered to be an ‘aggravated breach’ as defined in FA Rule E3 (2) in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.”
Balotelli, who quickly removed the picture and later apologised, has also been ordered to attend an educational programme.
“Following the recent events related to my ‘Super Mario’ post, the FA decision has made it clear that it was wrong,” he said on his Twitter account on Thursday.
“I am sorry my team mates and supporters of Liverpool FC have to be penalised for something I did and now come to regret. It is my intention to comply with the decision of the FA and make sure it never happens again.”
The 24-year-old Balotelli, who has a history of on and off-the-field misdemeanours, joined Liverpool from AC Milan in August but has managed just two goals in 15 games for the Premier League club.