Manchester City risk long battle with Mario Balotelli over disrepute fine

Players' union surprised by club's punishment of striker, which goes against guidelines

Manchester City are taking a substantial risk by going outside of disciplinary guidelines to fine Mario Balotelli £340,000, resulting in a legal case which could drag on into next year. The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) is surprised that City have charged the Italian with misconduct and fined him two weeks' wages, because guidelines they have put in place with all clubs and the Premier League do not entitle sides to fine players for a general accumulation of yellow and red cards – as the Premier League champions are doing in Balotelli's case.

City can point to the disrepute Balotelli has brought upon the club and manager Roberto Mancini's persistent attempts to tackle a disciplinary record which saw the striker miss 11 of the club's 54 games – 20.37 per cent – last season.

The Premier League champions, who ascribe huge importance to the way players' conduct reflects on the positive image of the club, will argue the 22-year-old Italian is in breach of his own contract when they face him at a Premier League tribunal in London tomorrow. But experts in the field believe that the PFA/Premier League guidelines – which only allow clubs to fine players for a sequence of dissent and violent conduct charges – will take precedence over the contract. City are confident they will win their highly unusual case against Balotelli, whom they fined at the end of last season because of a pattern of on-field behaviour. But even if the two-man tribunal rejects Balotelli's appeal against their fine, the player can take it to a Football League appeals committee, dragging the public dispute into next year. Potentially the legal case could stretch beyond his career at the Etihad, if this public spat does prove the last straw for him there.

City also went outside PFA and Premier League guidelines last season, when they attempted to fine Carlos Tevez four weeks wages, later reduced to two, after the PFA backed the striker's argument that he had not refused to play as a substitute against Bayern Munich.

This time, Balotelli's lawyers are expected to draw heavily on the disciplinary template agreed several years ago by the PFA, the Premier League, Football League and all clubs, relating to "field discipline." It provided a way of clubs being able to fine players for violent conduct and dissent – the two acts which the clubs were very keen to wipe out of the game – with fines ratcheting up each time a player was cautioned or dismissed for those two offences, in the course of a season.

The guidelines were laid down to prevent players challenging clubs' attempts to fine them and the PFA feel that the system is robust. The accumulation system means that players cautioned a third time for dissent are fined 40 per cent of their weekly wages, while a third dismissal for violent conduct brings the maximum fine of two weeks' wages.

But nowhere is there anything agreed for a general accumulation of yellows and reds and that is why Balotelli is within his rights to take the case to tribunal. His lawyers are likely to argue that clubs cannot use the guidelines when it suits them and then cherry pick the cases where they want to disregard them. There are few precedents in cases like this as few clubs have attempted to go beyond the guidelines.

Mancini's senior players and some of his coaching staff are so disenchanted with Balotelli and his distracting dressing room presence that they have told the manager he should jettison him in January. They contend that Balotelli's occasional moments of effectiveness on the field are now far outweighed by the detriment he is causing the club, on and off the field. Senior figures hope Mancini leaves him out of the first-team picture over Christmas, starting with Saturday's home game with Reading.

Balotelli will have Italian lawyers representing him at the Premier League tribunal, where the PFA will be acting for him in an advisory capacity to translate the nuances, with the union's former chairman, Richard Jobson, liaising.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments