FA suspends, fines Mario Balotelli for offensive Instagram post

FA suspends, fines Mario Balotelli for offensive Instagram post

Published Dec. 18, 2014 1:04 p.m. ET

Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli has been suspended for one game and fined $39,000 by the governing body of English soccer for making a racially offensive online post.

The Football Association said Friday that Balotelli also has been ordered to attend an education program for the ''aggravated breach'' of its rules.

The Italy international last week accepted a charge of an aggravated breach of Football Association rule E3, relating to references of ethnic origin, color, race, nationality or religion or belief, after his posting of an image of computer game character Super Mario on Instagram which included the words "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."

Balotelli did not request a personal hearing but submitted written mitigation to an independent disciplinary panel.


The FA said in a statement: "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 color and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief. Mr. Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education program."

Liverpool said they were awaiting the full written verdict from the panel but did not rule out further action against the player by the club.

A Liverpool spokesman said: "The club acknowledges the decision reached by the independent panel and due consideration will be given to the written judgement once we receive it from the FA. Any further action taken by ourselves in relation to this matter is between the club and player."

The day after his posting - which he quickly deleted - Balotelli apologized by writing on Twitter: "I apologize if I've offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. I now understand that out of context (it) may have the opposite effect."

Balotelli, 24, deleted the offending post as criticism began to mount but FA guidelines state that "deleting an inappropriate posting, whilst advisable, does not necessarily prevent disciplinary action being taken".

The striker will now miss Liverpool's match at home to Arsenal on Sunday, subject to any appeal.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.