Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli has been charged by the FA over alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments on social media. The player’s Instagram post showed Nintendo character Super Mario and contained the words “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew”.
It was quickly deleted from his page and Balotelli wrote on Twitter: “My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please.” The controversial Italian player later tweeted an apology.
He said: “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. “Not all Mexicans have moustaches, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.”
The FA says Balotelli has committed an “aggravated breach of its rules” – its minimum ban for a race-related offence is five matches. He has until 15 December to respond to the charges.
A Liverpool spokesperson said: “We acknowledge the FA’s decision and the player will work through the process to answer the charge. “While that process is on-going the club will not be making any further comment.”
The former Manchester City and AC Milan star has previously spoken out against racism. Addressing concerns over Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, he said: “I will not accept racism at all.
“It’s unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.”
The charges against Balotelli come as new comments by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan attract more controversy.
Mr Whelan, also facing FA charges over remarks about Jewish and Chinese people, told the Jewish Telegraph he had used the word “chingaling” when growing up – to refer to Wigan’s first Chinese cafe.
“We weren’t being disrespected (sic),” he told the newspaper.
“The Chinese weren’t offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called it.”