Mario Balotelli has apologised for his post on social media which provoked claims of racism and anti-Semitism, with the Liverpool striker saying his intention was to be "anti-racist with humour".
The FA is investigating the incident and has contacted Balotelli after he posted an image on Instagram of the video game character Super Mario which contained stereotypes about a number of different ethnic groups.
The 24-year-old, who has been a frequent victim of racism himself, deleted the post after he was criticised by other social media users and responded on his Twitter account by writing: "My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please".
He has until 6pm on Friday to respond to the FA, but he returned to Twitter on Tuesday morning to issue an apology to anybody who took offence at his comments.
“I apologise if I’ve offended anyone,” the Italian wrote on social media. “The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour.
"I now understand that out of context may have the opposite effect. Not all Mexicans have moustaches, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.
"I used a cartoon done by someone else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry."
A spokesman for Liverpool said on Monday night: "We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player. We will be speaking to the player about the issue."
The incident comes after a controversy involving Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan, who has been charged by the FA over comments about Jewish and Chinese people.
Under the FA's social media guidelines, the minimum ban for race-related breaches of rules is five games.