Mario Balotelli was sent off during Nice’s 1-0 win away at Lorient for insulting the referee in English, match official Tony Chapron has claimed.
The dismissal, Balotelli’s third of the season, came in the 68th minute with Nice already in front through Wylan Cyprien’s 15th-minute strike.
“He insulted me in English,” Chapron is reported as saying post-match.
“I won’t say more but it was something classical.”
Meanwhile, Nice coach Lucien Favre opted against criticising Balotelli’s actions, but did say the striker had worked hard in training after being dropped for the Ligue 1 title challenger’s previous two games.
“I am not like that. It’s clear that going down to 10 when there are still 25 minutes to play is tough,” he told the club’s official website.
“Before every game, my final words in the changing rooms are to not get a red and not to give away a penalty.
“I didn’t see what happened. Some words must have been said … I don’t know.
“Mario had a good week in training, he was more involved, even if you need to back him up a lot, because of him getting back into position.”