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Mario Balotelli Banned for 1 Liverpool Match, Fined at FA Misconduct Hearing

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 18 Dec 2014

The FA has banned Mario Balotelli for one game after the Liverpool striker was found guilty of using language deemed to be racist and anti-Semitic on social media.Balotelli was also fined and ordered to attend an education programme.The FA confirmed the news in a release: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. [...]Mr Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education programme.Balotelli issued an apology and response to the decision:An independent regulatory commission read written submissions from the governing body and Balotelli at Wembley. The misfiring Reds forwardwho is yet to score a Premier League goal since returning to England from AC Milanfailed to convince officials his offending Instagram post was done with innocent intentions.He will now miss Sunday's match against Arsenal.Balotelli uploaded an image depicting racial and Jewish stereotypes on the aforementioned social networking site. This depicted popular video game character Mariowhose "Super Mario" guise is often used to describe Balotelliwith the following quote, via Transfer News Site on Twitter:Balotelli deleted the image shortly after it went live. He quickly apologised and said, "The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that out of context (it) may have the opposite effect," per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian.The hasty realisation that he made an unintentional mistake failed to influencethe commission's final decision.BBC's Matt Slater provided his take:Balotelli is yet to impress in a Liverpool shirt. He returned from injury to spurn key chances during the 3-0 loss to Manchester United. This follows on from a string of lazy performances from the former Manchester City man, who is capable of providing match-winning moments when at his best.Ian Ladyman of the Mail Online believes Brendan Rodgers has "fundamental issues" with Balotelli's technical ability. He suggests the Northern Irish boss is struggling with "increasing reservations" over whether Balotelli will ever be able to lead Liverpool's line.Rodgers decided to start Raheem Sterling as his most advanced attacker against United. The rapid forward missed key chances, but provided Adam Lallana and Liverpool's midfield with an energetic target to set free. His incisive runs saw him score two goals against Bournemouth during Wednesday's Capital One Cup tie.Balotelli certainly needs to up his performance levels and off-field behaviour if he's to remain a first-team contender. Rodgers has a decision to make whenever the striker is fit, as Balotelli's general sloppiness has negatively impacted Liverpool's season so far.His Instagram post was another blip on an already loaded record. The 24-year-old is in danger of letting his flirtation with controversy overrule a football career which once seemed destined for great things.Rodgers admitted Balotelli was on his "last chance" when he arrived in the summer, per Phil McNulty of BBC Sport, so it will be intriguing to see whether the frustrating striker finally produces the goods. Right now, it's fair to say many Liverpool fans feel more comfortable with Balotelli out of the team.
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