Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Balotelli tribunal imminent

Mario Balotelli failed to overturn a club fine through Manchester City's internal appeals process

Mario Balotelli's lawyers are preparing to present their case after taking the Manchester City striker's appeal against a club fine to a Premier League tribunal.

Balotelli has exercised his right to take his fight to a league panel after failing to overturn the sanction through City's internal appeals process.

Press Association Sport understands City imposed a fine of two weeks' wages - a figure reported to be around £340,000 - on the Italy international last season for on-field indiscipline.

Neither City nor the Premier League have commented on what is regarded as a private matter but it is understood a hearing will take place on Wednesday at an undisclosed location in London. It is unknown whether Balotelli, who will be represented by a team of Italian lawyers, will make a personal appearance.

A whole day has been set aside for the hearing and it is unlikely a verdict will be reached on the day as the panel will need time to deliberate.

Balotelli, 22, missed 11 competitive matches through suspension last season as a result of three red cards - one from the previous campaign - and one retrospective punishment. That was also in a season in which he courted controversy for numerous off-field matters.

News of the fine emerged this week and has fuelled further speculation that the player could leave the Etihad Stadium in the January transfer window.

Balotelli's form this season has generally been under scrutiny having scored just one goal in the Premier League.

He was also omitted from the squad by manager Roberto Mancini, for the second time in just over a month, for Saturday's victory at Newcastle. Mancini also voiced fears the player's talent could go to waste after an ineffectual performance in the derby loss to Manchester United nine days ago.

Balotelli, signed for £24million from Inter Milan in 2010, has been linked with a return to the San Siro with AC Milan but his agent has consistently denied he wishes to move.