Balotelli charged by FA
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is facing a four-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.
The 21-year-old has until 6pm on Wednesday to respond to the charge, which relates to an incident in which he appeared to catch Scott Parker's head with his foot during Sunday's 3-2 Barclays Premier League win over Tottenham.
An FA statement read: "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. 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."
The statement continued: "Balotelli has until 6pm on Wednesday 25 January 2012 to respond to the charge."
The one consolation for City is that Joleon Lescott will face no further action for catching Younes Kaboul in the face with his forearm in a separate incident at the Etihad Stadium.
If he accepts his charge, Balotelli will miss the Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield. However, should the Italy international decide to appeal he will be free to face the Merseyside giants, with a hearing taking place later this week.
It would seem, though, that Balotelli would be at risk of getting the suspension extended if he took that course of action as referee Howard Webb informed the FA today that, had he seen the Italian's apparent stamp, he would have sent the City player off.
It is a view widely shared across the game, with a succession of former players and managers arguing that Balotelli should have been sent off.
That he went on to score the injury-time penalty that gave City their win, only heightened Harry Redknapp's discomfort immediately after the game.
"I don't like people kicking other people in the head on a football pitch," said the Tottenham boss after the game. "It is not something I understand. Why should he go and back-heel someone in the head when he is on the floor?"