Social media a problem, warns Liverpool chief Ayre

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre would be in favour of banning the club's players from social media in the light of Mario Balotelli's FA charge.

Balotelli caused a stir this week after posting a message on Instagram and Twitter containing anti-Semitic and racist references.

Though Balotelli claimed his intent was anti-racist, the Italian was widely criticised and ultimately charged by the Football Association as the image contained language referring to "ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief".

Though Ayre is satisfied Liverpool have done everything in their power to warn players of the perils of social media, he concedes little can be done to prevent controversy rearing its head.

"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.

"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.

"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 has until December 15 to respond to the charge.