Mario Balotelli: Liverpool chief Ian Ayre says social media a problem

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli joined Liverpool from AC Milan for £16m last summer

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Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre says that the use of social media by players is a problem.

Reds striker Mario Balotelli was charged on Friday by the Football Association for an Instagram post.

The 24-year-old reposted an image which appeared to contain anti-Semitic and racist references before apologising.

"Given the choice we'd love to keep all our players away from social media because it really is a problem," Ayre told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek.

"I can honestly say there isn't any more we could do as a club to try to educate our players around this but it still rears its head at least once a season - probably at every club in some form or another."

The picture posted by Mario Balotelli on Instagram
Balotelli forwarded on a picture produced by someone else

Balotelli is currently sidelined with a groin injury and has missed Liverpool's last five games.

"One of the problems that all footballers have had for many a year is that they have too much time to kill," added Ayre.

"In that downtime they seem to put these crazy sort of messages up. It is definitely an issue.

"I don't think we have got to the point where we would stop people doing it but we certainly have a very stringent policy that all of our players sign.

"If they step out of line then we punish them."

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