Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli has been charged by the Football Association for an Instagram post which appeared to contain anti-Semitic and racist references.
The Liverpool striker 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.”
Mario Balotelli, 24, tweeted to deny the post was offensive, before apologizing.
He has until 18:00 GMT on 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 color and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.”
Mario Balotelli had until 18:00 on December 5 to submit an explanation for his comments to the FA and he reportedly provided evidence of the discrimination he has faced during his career.
The picture posted by the player had an image of Super Mario with the heading: “Don’t be a racist!”
The text read: “Be like Mario, he’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.”
“He jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
After receiving criticism on Twitter for the image, Mario Balotelli tweeted: “My mom [sic] is Jewish so all of you shut up please.”
The player also described reposting the image as “my unlucky moment”.
Mario Balotelli later wrote: “I apologize if I’ve offended anyone.
“The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. 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.”
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Jobe Kilbride, 13, was the youngest of a gang of five, who went on a terrifying 10-day robbery spree across Liverpool in April and May this year.
Jobe Kilbride poses brazenly with a deadly sawn-off shotgun during a 10-day robbery spree which brought terror to Liverpool. Police found his pictures that his friends had taken on his mobile phone.
The gang, whose members’ ages ranged from 13 to 18, targeted taxi drivers and shopkeepers and shot one man during their rampage.
The gang leader was Bradley Beveridge, 18, who had been on the police radar since his early teens and has already racked up a host of convictions.
Bradley Beveridge was locked up indefinitely.
Jobe Kilbride, 13, was the youngest of a gang of five, who went on a terrifying 10-day robbery spree across Liverpool
Jobe Kilbride was given 4 years while his older brother Declan, 16, was locked up for 9 years.
Other gang member, Declan Culshaw, 15, who acted as look-out in the gang’s final robbery, was given 5 years while Dylan Currie, 14, was jailed for 6 years.
The gang’ spree was opportunistic, they had their faces covered by hoods or simply by pulling their jumpers up as they prowled the streets with a loaded shotgun.
The first robber was on April 30, around 1:00 a.m., when a private hire taxi driver, went to pick up a fare on Daneville Road, Norris Green.
When the taxi driver pulled up he was faced with three figures with a shotgun who stole his takings and his cab, a silver Ford Mondeo, dumping it less than half-a-mile away.
Next day, on May 1, at the same morning hour, another private hire driver – this time in a silver Ford Focus – became the gang’s next victim.
He picked up three youths on Scargreen Avenue, Norris Green, and was told to take them to Delamore Street, in Anfield.
As they neared their destination, one of them grabbed the handbrake while the driver had a shotgun shoved in his face.
They took the cash and the car, abandoning it on Scarisbrick Road, Norris Green, 45 minutes later.
In the same day, at 11:10 p.m., two of them, having a shotgun, burst into the Quickhomesave store, on Selwyn Street, Walton, threatened staff and fled with cash.
On May 4, the gang burst again at the All in One convenience store on Tarbock Road, Huyton, threatening staff with a shotgun and taking cash and cigarettes.
The last two crimes happened within minutes of each other at around 10:15 p.m. on May 10.
The gang stood huddled in a bus stop on Muirhead Avenue East, Norris Green, for 20 or so minutes, one by one going to peer inside the nearby All in One shop until they were sure the coast was clear.
As seen on CCTV, they filed into the shop and robbed it, leaving the lone staff member cowering in a corner.
As they fled across the main road into a nearby estate, they were confronted by the shop’s owner who was on his way to his business after hearing what was going on.
In Winskill Road, the teenager gang shot at Rajeethan Pulendran and a friend when they tried to stop them, hitting the friend in the body. The man escaped the attack with only minor injuries.