Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been suspended for one match, fined £25,000 and ordered to attend an education course after making racist and anti-Semitic comments.
Balotelli had already accepted a charge of an aggravated breach of Football Association rule E3, relating to references of ethnic origin, colour, 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”.
The Italy international did not request a personal hearing, but submitted written mitigation to an independent disciplinary panel, who handed out the punishment on Thursday.
Balotelli will now miss Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at Anfield after deciding against an appeal.
“Following the recent events related to my ‘Super Mario’ post, the FA decision has made clear that it was wrong,” he wrote on Twitter.
“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.”
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.
“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,” a Liverpool spokesman said.
“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 apologised by writing on Twitter: “I apologise if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that out of context (it) may have the opposite effect.”