Balotelli banned for one match and fined £25,000 for Instagram post

The former Manchester City striker will miss Sunday’s visit of Arsenal to Anfield and has again apologised to his team-mates and supporters for his actions

Balotelli banned for one match and fined £25,000 for Instagram post

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been banned for one-match and hit with a €32,000 (£25,000) fine by the Football Association after posting an offensive image on Instagram.

A picture of video game character Super Mario accompanied with text caused controversy after the message was alleged to be racist and anti-Semitic.

Balotelli immediately aplogised for the post, claiming it was meant to be “anti-racist with humour”, though he acknowledged that without context it could be deemed to be offensive.

Despite that, the FA have chosen to punish the former Manchester City man, meaning he will miss Arsenal’s visit to Anfield on Sunday.

“Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Thursday 18 December 2014], Mario Balotelli has been fined £25,000, suspended for one-match with immediate effect, subject to any appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA Rules in relation to social media,” a statement read.

“The charge was that an image the Liverpool player posted on social media was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3(1).

“Furthermore, 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.

“Mr Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education programme.

The 24-year-old has struggled since his arrival on Merseyside, scoring just twice since his move from AC Milan in August, and sat out Wednesday’s win over Bournemouth with a groin injury.

And he took to Twitter to again apologise on Thursday, adding that he will not be appealing the decision.

“Following the recent events related to my “Super Mario” post, the FA decision has made clear that it was wrong,” he said.

“I am sorry that 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.”

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