Balotelli accepts club fine

Martin Rose

Averting a possible collision course with the club, the scheduled tribunal to hear Mario Balotelli's appeal was cancelled after the Italian accepted the two-week fine levied by the club for a series of disciplinary offences.

Balotelli, supported by the PFA, had argued that the club had operated outside of their jurisdiction and are in breach of agreed guidelines. However, at the last minute a statement was released stating that the clubs punishment had been accepted:

"After amicable talks between the parties, as a sign of respect for Roberto Mancini, the supporters and the Club, Mario Balotelli has chosen to accept a two week fine levied upon him by the Club and withdraw his disciplinary appeal, which was due to be heard by a Premier League panel today.

Mario remains available for selection for all forthcoming fixtures."

It has been a strange state of affairs this past week with the announcement of the clubs action coming after a weekend where Balotelli was once again left out of the squad due to performances in training, this of course coming a week after a surprise derby start which resulted in him being substituted minutes into the second half to widespread unrest in the crowd, seemingly a critical point in a deteriorating relationship between Balotelli and the fans who have long warmed to him.

There was a very real danger that had Balotelli pursued, and won, his case that it could have marked the end of his time at the club, even though Mancini as not involved in the clubs decision. So is it a sign of a maturer Balotelli, as has been suggested in some quarters? Whilst the decision may show a willingness to tow the party line and even an awareness that time is running out there is no escaping that it has been a dismal time of late for him.

Reports surfaced this week that both senior players and coaching staff had gone to Roberto Mancini with their concerns that his disruptive influence had become such an issue that they felt he should be sold. Despite occasional comments, Mancini has been a staunch and loyal supporter and - despite continuing rumours - does not appear to be in any rush to offload him.

That said, Mancini's patience cannot be finite but I have long argued that rather than it being off field issues that hasten his departure it will be on field performances that result in Mancini calling time on his City career. The concern for Balotelli though is that time now appears to be fast approaching and in truth, with no real sign that he will be afforded the required opportunity to turn matters around any time soon.

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