Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been charged by the FA for a post on Instagram that appeared to make racist and anti-Semitic comments, reports the BBC.
The 24-year-old reposted 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 Italian tweeted to deny his post was offensive before apologising, and has until December 15 to respond to the charge.
A Liverpool spokesman 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 make no further comment.”
An FA statement read: “It is alleged the Liverpool player breached FA Rule E3 in that his posting was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper.
“It is further alleged that this is an ‘Aggravated Breach’ as defined by FA Rule E3 as it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.”
Balotelli has until 18.00 on December 15 to respond to the charge and give an explanation for his comments.
Balotelli charged by the FA for Instagram post The striker had previously posted 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.
“Not all Mexicans have a moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.
“I used a cartoon done by somebody else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.”
The Liverpool striker has scored just two goals in 14 appearances this season, and is currently sidelined with a groin injury.