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Balotelli apologises

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has pledged to learn from his latest misdemeanour after apologising to team-mates and fans for incurring a one-match ban.

The Italy international will not appeal his suspension, due to take effect tomorrow, after accepting an aggravated breach of the Football Association Rule E3, relating to references of ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality or religion or belief.

In addition to his ban the 24-year-old was also fined £25,000 and will have to undertake an education programme after posting 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".

"Following the recent events related to my 'Super Mario' post, the FA decision has made clear that it was wrong," Balotelli wrote on Twitter.

"I am sorry that my team-mates and supporters of Liverpool FC have to be penalised 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."

He could, however, face further internal sanctions as the club said they had not ruled out action against him.

"The club acknowledges the decision reached by the independent panel and due consideration will be given to the written judgement once we receive it from the FA," said a Liverpool spokesman.

"Any further action taken by ourselves in relation to this matter is between the club and player."

The day after his posting - which he quickly deleted - Balotelli apologised, writing on Twitter: "I apologize 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."

In a statement the FA said: "Following an independent regulatory commission hearing 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 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 colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.

"Mr Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education programme."