LONDON, England, January 24 – Manchester City’s controversial Italian striker Mario Balotelli could be suspended for four matches after he was charged on Monday with violent conduct by the Football Association (FA).
The 21-year-old Italian international has been charged over images appearing to show that he deliberately stamped on Tottenham Hotspur’s England midfielder Scott Parker’s head during Sunday’s 3-2 Premier League win over the London side.
The incident infuriated Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, even more so as referee Howard Webb waved play on without sanctioning Balotelli and the striker was to add insult to injury when he converted a penalty in time added-on to secure the points and deal a serious blow to Spurs own title hopes.
Webb, though, has subsequently told the FA that had he seen the incident he would have sent him off.
Balotelli – who has rarely been out of the headlines on both the front and back pages since joining City from Inter Milan in the summer of 2010 – has until 1800GMT on Wednesday to reply to it.
Should he accept it he will begin his four match ban immediately and miss Wednesday’s League Cup second leg semi-final clash away at Liverpool, who hold a 1-0 advantage after the first leg.
If he appeals he will be able to play in the game and argue his case at the hearing which will be held later this week.
“The FA has today charged Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli with violent conduct following an incident in his side’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur,” read the FA statement.
“Balotelli was involved in an incident with Tottenham’s Scott Parker during Manchester City’s 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 22 January 2012.
“Balotelli has until 6pm (also GMT) on Wednesday 25 January 2012 to respond to the charge.”
Other matches he would miss should he accept the charge would be the league leaders Premier League trips to Everton and Aston Villa, plus the home match with Fulham on February 4.