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LONDON (AP) — Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli has been suspended for one game and fined 25,000 pounds ($39,000) by the governing body of English soccer for making a racially offensive online post.
The Football Association said Friday that Balotelli also has been ordered to attend an education program for the "aggravated breach" of its rules.
Balotelli in early December uploaded on Instagram a picture of the video-game character Super Mario, with whom the Italian national team player shares a nickname. Text around the image included "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."
Balotelli, who has been subjected to racial abuse on numerous occasions, posted an image of the computerized character on Monday with the heading "Don't be a racist."
"The FA decision has made clear it was wrong," Balotelli said in a statement on his Twitter page. "I am sorry that my teammates and supporters of Liverpool FC have to be penalized 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."
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