Volatile Italian striker Mario Balotelli began a four match suspension on Wednesday after accepting an FA charge of violent conduct in relation to his stamping on Spurs midfielder Scott Parker's head last Sunday.

The 21-year-old Manchester City striker risked a heavier suspension had he contested the charge at a hearing later this week and thus misses Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg clash with Liverpool and three Premier League games.

While he had not even been booked for the incident in Sunday's Premier League clash referee Howard Webb had stated later that had he seen his stamp he would have sent him off.

Webb's remarks infuriated the Balotelli camp and his agent accused the 2010 World Cup final referee of having lied about not seeing the incident, though, the FA earlier Wednesday issued a statement defending the referee.

As well as the League Cup match Balotelli - who went on after the Parker incident to score the winning goal from the penalty spot in the final minute of the match - will also miss the Premier League games between the leaders and Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa.

Balotelli insists that he is no villain, he told the Independent:

"I am not a villain or a violent player.

"I have accepted the ban because I couldn't prove my innocence.

"I didn't try to (place my) heel (on) Parker."

Source: AFP