Liverpool Football Club player Mario Balotelli faces a one-match suspension, a 25,000 pound ($39,176) fine, and an educational course, the Football Association ruled Thursday night, after posting racist and anti-Semitic comments on Instagram.
"Following an independent regulatory commission hearing today 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," the FA said in a statement. "The charge was that an image the Liverpool player posted on social media was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA rule E3(1)."
"Furthermore, the posting was considered to be an "aggravated breach" as defined in FA rule E3(2) in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colur and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief," it continued. "Mr Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education program."
Earlier this month, Balotelli posted - then deleted - a photo on Instagram of Nintendo video game character ‘Super Mario’ with the caption "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."
Outrage snowballed after the post went viral. Balotelli later played down the event, noting on Twitter that his mother is Jewish and that he had meant the post as a joke.
On Thursday, the soccer player took to Twitter shortly after the ruling to publish an additional apology for the incident.