Ian Ayre admits social media is ‘really is a problem’.
After Mario Balotelli was charged by the FA for a controversial Instagram post, the Liverpool official admits that misuse of such networks is a major concern for the club and he would prefer that the players refrain from using social media. Balotelli caused a stir after sharing an image on Instagram and Twitter that contained anti-Semitic and racist references. Though the Italian claimed that his intent was not to provoke any such reactions, he was later charged by the FA as they believed the image contained language referring to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.
An FA statement read: “It is alleged the Liverpool player breached FA Rule E3 in that his posting was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper. It is further alleged that this is an ‘Aggravated Breach’ as defined by FA Rule E3 as it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.”
Ayre told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme that it is something his club could do without.”Given the choice, we’d love to keep all our players away from social media because it really is a problem,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“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.”
Balotelli has been sidelined by a groin injury recently and Ayre added:”One of the problems that all footballers have had for many a year is that they have too much time to kill. 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.”
Balotelli, who could be facing a five-match ban, now has until Dec. 15 to respond to the charge.
Meanwhile, Liverpool has issued a statement about Friday’s developments.”We acknowledge the FA’s decision and the player will work through the process to answer the charge,” a Liverpool spokesperson told the BBC. “While that process is on-going the club will make no further comment.”