Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been banned for one-game by the English FA after posting an “abusive and/or insulting” image on Instagram.
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The Italian striker has yet to score in the Premier League for Liverpool and he will now miss the Reds’ home game against Arsenal on Sunday, as his season of woe continues on and off the field. Liverpool have yet to decide whether or not to appeal the ban, while Balotelli has accepted any punishment but was not at the independent hearing himself.
Balotelli, 24, has been sanctioned after reposting an image of Super Mario on Instagram which had the caption “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew” underneath a picture of the Nintendo character.
In a statement on their website released on Thursday, the FA confirmed Balotelli’s ban.
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.
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
Balotelli has already removed the image and apologized for any offence it cause as he tried to explain that his foster mother is Jewish.
Is a $40,000 fine and a one-game ban enough for his actions? Or perhaps too much?
The Italian international forward took to Instagram once again after the sanctions were confirmed and said the following.
“I am sorry that my team-mates and supporters of Liverpool FC have to be penalized for something I did and now come to regret. It is my decision to comply with the decision of the FA and make sure it never happens again.”