On Wednesday, Manchester City and Mario Balotelli will face each other at a Premier League tribunal after the Italian striker decided to appeal against the two-week fine the club imposed on him after he missed a total of 11 matches through suspension during our title winning campaign.
The fine was originally dished out by the club back in April on the back of Balotelli’s dismissal against Arsenal in a match that seemed to spell the end of City’s title challenge. Balotelli appealed but a panel of City board members and representatives upheld the decision which is why Wednesday’s tribunal will now take place.
It’s a bizarre position for the club and player to find themselves in, and does nothing to end press speculation that Balotelli is a disruptive player and available for transfer in January, but one feels the club has every right to impose the fine. To miss 11 matches during one season, and then play very little part in the run in because of fears over ill-discipline, means the 22-year-old striker doesn’t have a leg to stand on and should have just accepted the fine in a dignified manner. How he feels justified in prolonging the affair and attracting more unnecessary attention on the club is a mystery to me.
Balotelli will appear with his Italian lawyer and a PFA representative at the hearing, whilst City will have their legal team on hand.
Gordon Taylor, PFA chief executive and the most forgiving man on the planet, told the BBC:
We try to avoid situations like this wherever possible, but the player and club have not been able to resolve this situation.
It seems an unwelcome and rather embarrassing turn of events, and it could be the final nail in Balotelli’s City coffin. Roberto Mancini has been unbelievably forgiving to a player most observers have long been ready to throw on the scrapheap but even his patience appears to be wearing thin. Balotelli was left out of City’s match day squad on Saturday for the trip to Newcastle so that he can “work.” It all looks rather ominous for the young Italian now.