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Why always him?
Mario Balotelli’s talent for making the wrong headlines shows no sign of abating after the enigmatic attacker was accused by the English Football Association of racially stereotyping Jewish and black people in a social media post.
The FA is investigating Balotelli’s repost of a Nintendo character Super Mario image with the words “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew”.
“Mario Balotelli has been charged by the FA over a recent social media posting,” the statement read.
“Liverpool player is alleged to have broken FA rule at E3″ because his message was offensive and/or insulting and/or inappropriate.
It is further alleged that this is an ‘aggravated violation’ as defined by FA Rule E3 because it contained a reference to ethnic origin and/or skin color and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.
“The player has until 6 p.m. on December 15, 2014 to respond to the charge.”
Balotelli quickly deleted the Instagram image, before tweeting: “My mother is Jewish, so please shut up,” a reference to his foster mother, Silvia.
He apologized on Twitter on Tuesday, explaining that the post was “meant to be anti-racist with humor”.
He added: “I now understand that out of context it can have the opposite effect. Not all Mexicans have mustaches, not all black people jump high, and not all Jews like money.
“I used a cartoon made by someone else because it has Super Mario in it and I found it funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.”
Liverpool said they plan to talk to Balotelli, who has missed the club’s last three games due to a groin injury sustained during his international service in November.
“We are aware of the message which has since been immediately deleted by the player,” Liverpool said in a statement.
However, former FA chieftain Simon Johnson called on the FA to punish 24-year-old Balotelli.
“We abhor all forms of racism wherever it is found,” Johnson, the current chief executive of the UK Jewish Leadership Council, told the Daily Telegraph.
“We call on the FA to investigate this offensive message on social media and take action if necessary to eradicate racism from football.”
In Italy, Balotelli was often confronted with racist insults in stadiums, while Merseyside police investigated racist comments on Twitter against Balotelli in September after he posted a message during Manchester United’s 5-3 defeat to Leicester City.
Balotelli has yet to score a Premier League goal since coming to Liverpool from AC Milan in the summer transfer window, although he did net against Ludogorets in the Champions League and Swansea in the English League Cup.
The minimum ban for race-related rule violations is five matches under the FA’s social media guidelines.
Read: Balotelli says sorry