Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been fined £25,000, suspended for a match and ordered to attend an "education programme" by the FA as punishment for an Instagram post that provoked claims of racism and anti-semitism.
Balotelli admitted breaching FA rules after apologising for re-posting an image from the computer game 'Super Mario' on his Instagram page which included the comment "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew".
The Football Association confirmed the punishment, announcing:
Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today, 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.
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Mario Balotelli has been charged by the Football Assocation for an Instagram post which prompted claims of racism and anti-semitism.
A statement on the FA website has accused the Liverpool striker of breaching "FA Rule E3 in that his posting was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper."
Balotelli reposted an edited image of the classic computer game character Super Mario with the message: “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
The post was swiftly deleted with the 24 year-old claiming he intended it to be "anti-racist with humour."
He has until 6pm on December 15th 2014 to respond to the charge.
Jewish representative group the Board of Deputies of British Jews has welcomed the FA's involvement in a social media post from Mario Balotelli which has prompted claims of racism and anti-semitism.
"The Board of Deputies of British Jews is concerned by the racist meme shared by footballer Mario Balotelli on his Instagram account and welcomes the FA's probe into the matter," said a statement.
"Footballers in particular have big followings of young people and should act responsibly when using social media."
The board's president, Vivian Wineman, added: "Balotelli's sharing of images which use unacceptable language and appeal to classic antisemitic tropes is troubling.
"We were pleased to see his immediate retraction and apology but such language has no place in public discourse. We welcome the decision by the FA to investigate this matter."
Liverpool fans have been speaking to ITV News after the FA confirmed they are looking into a post from Mario Balotelli on Instagram which prompted claims of racism and anti-semitism.
The striker has since deleted his comment and apologised, claiming it was supposed to be "anti-racist with humour."
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Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been contacted by the Football Association over his Instagram post which provoked accusations of racism and anti-semitism.
An FA spokesperson told ITV News that Balotelli has until 6pm on Friday to respond.
Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli has apologised for an Instagram post that prompted claims of racism and anti-semitism.
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (...) http://t.co/UlNeNlEz9M
The Italian footballer had previously told critics to "shut up", noting that his mother is Jewish.
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Mario Balotelli's disruptive behaviour is down to the way he was educated, claims Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff.
The Liverpool striker has come under criticism for his antics on and off the field during his spells with Inter and AC Milan, Manchester City and now at Anfield.
"What I think about Balotelli as a player and as a man? We always talk about the person, I prefer to talk about education of the person,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Balotelli doesn't behave well and we have to ask why. To me, if someone is not educated, he doesn't play. To me, it is not fault of the player, but of the team that makes him play. The problem is not Mario, but the education that was given to him." “If he had been educated in a certain way, he wouldn't behave this way."