- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

LONDON (AP) - Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is banned from Sunday’s match against Arsenal as punishment for posting racially offensive comments online.

The FA on Thursday imposed the one-match ban and a fine of 25,000 pounds ($39,000), while also ordering Balotelli to attend an education program for the “aggravated breach” of its discrimination rules.

Balotelli uploaded on Instagram a picture of the video-game character Super Mario, with whom the Italy international shares a nickname, with text around the image including “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”

The striker, who has been subjected to racial abuse on numerous occasions, posted the image of the computerized character with the heading “Don’t be a racist.”

“The FA decision has made clear it was wrong,” Balotelli said in a statement on his Twitter page. “I am sorry that my teammates and supporters of Liverpool FC have to be penalized 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.”


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