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 postmatch. "I won't say more but it was something classical."
Meanwhile, Nice coach Lucien Favre insists he will not continue to offer any special treatment to the striker.
"I thought he had improved a lot in training this week," Favre added. "I had talked to him but I can't always do that because otherwise I end up focusing only on him."
Balotelli scored seven goals in his first seven Ligue 1 games for Nice but has found the net just once so far in 2017,