England's Football Association has charged Mario Balotelli for a breach of the association's rules in connection with an Instagram post the Liverpool striker made, the FA announced Friday.
The FA had said Tuesday it was investigating the matter.
Balotelli posted a picture of the video game character Super Mario overlaid with text that said, "Don't be racist! Be like Mario. He's an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican." The text on the bottom portion of the picture read "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."
Balotelli, whose nickname is Super Mario, deleted the post and apologized on Twitter.
"It is alleged the Liverpool player breached FA Rule E3 in that his posting was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper," the FA said in a release. "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 race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief."
If found guilty, Balotelli could be suspended for a minimum of five games. He has until Dec. 15 to respond to the charge.
- Dan Gartland