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Balotelli to escape big FA ban

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been charged by the English Football Association following allegedly racist and anti-semitic comments on social media, but the controversial striker will escape a five-game ban for the offence.

The minimum ban for a race-related on-pitch offence is five matches, but that would not apply in a case such as Balotelli's, for which no specific punishments are outlined.

Italy international Balotelli reposted an image of computer game character Super Mario on Instagram earlier this week, which was accompanied by the words "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew".

The English FA announced in a statement yesterday: "Mario Balotelli has been charged by the FA in relation to a recent posting on social media.

"It is alleged the Liverpool player breached FA rule E3(1) 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[2] 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 6.0pm on Monday, December 15 to respond to the charge.