Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli could be hit with nine-game ban
Striker apologises but his season, and City career, could be over if stamp is punished
Mario Balotelli will find out today if he faces a potential nine-game ban – a decision dependent on whether or not the referee Martin Atkinson tells the Football Association he saw the Manchester City striker stamp on Alex Song in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Atkinson will be contacted today by the FA and asked whether he had sight of the stamp, which took place in the 26th minute of the game, for which the referee did not even give a foul. If Atkinson says that he did not see the incident, and confirms that had he done so he would have sent off Balotelli, the FA will act retrospectively.
Balotelli, 22, is already facing a three-match ban for his red card at the end of the game, which was given for two bookable offences. He gets one game for the card itself and a further two because it is effectively his third red card of the season. Should Balotelli be charged with violent conduct for the stamp on Song, the Italian would be in the unusual position of having, in effect, been sent off twice in the same game. He would get the statutory three-match ban for a straight red card and then a further three-game ban for it being, in effect, his fourth red card of the season.
In all it would mean that Balotelli would be banned for nine games, ruling him out of the last six Premier League matches of this season and the first three of next season. Those three would only be effective if he was still at City next season, with Roberto Mancini having raised doubts about his future at the club on Sunday.
At the time of the stamp on Song, it is understood that neither Atkinson; Peter Kirkup, his assistant on that side of the pitch, or Andre Marriner, the fourth official who was close by, saw the incident. Atkinson allowed play to go on, stopping it eventually for treatment to Song.
However, Atkinson could say that he saw the incident but did not realise its severity. In which case, the FA, which is bound by Fifa rules that limit the opportunities for retrospective refereeing of games, would have to conclude that the incident was dealt with at the time. Then, Balotelli would not face the supplementary six-game ban.
Yesterday Balotelli apologised for his actions and said that he would await talks with the club at the end of the season to discuss his future. Speaking to Italian news agency Ansa, he said: "At the end of the season I will speak with the club. I'm very sorry for what happened and for the disappointment caused, especially to Roberto Mancini, who I admire and wish well."
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts