Manchester United biggest signing at the last transfer window, Edinson Cavani has been hit with a three-match ban and £100,000 fine after he used the word ‘negrito’ in a social media post.
Cavani sent the message to a friend after his match-winning performance against Southampton last month, but the FA decided it was discriminatory in nature and charged him with misconduct.
The 33-year-old Uruguayan had until January 4 to respond but decided not to contest the charge which carries a minimum three-match ban.
He will now miss the Premier League game against Aston Villa, League Cup semi-final against Manchester City and FA Cup clash with Watford – leaving him free to return to action against Burnley on January 12 and Liverpool five days later.
A statement from the FA read: ‘Edinson Cavani has been suspended for three games, fined £100,000 and must complete face-to-face education after admitting a charge for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on Sunday 29 November 2020.
‘A comment posted on the Manchester United FC striker’s Instagram page was insulting, abusive, improper and brought the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1.
‘The post also constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’, which is defined in FA Rule E3.2, as it included reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin.
‘An independent Regulatory Commission was appointed to decide the sanction and its written reasons will be published in due course.’
Cavani and United have maintained from the start that it was affectionate message to a close friend whose nickname is Negrito, and the player was not aware that the word is unacceptable in this country or could be interpreted as racist.
United point out that Cavani immediately apologised and deleted the post, and also decided not to contest the charge out of respect for the fight against racism. They also hope that the £100,000 fine will go towards funding the FA’s anti-racism initiatives.
A statement from United read: ‘As he has stated, Edinson Cavani wasn’t aware that his words could have been misconstrued and he sincerely apologised for the post and to anyone who was offended.
‘Despite his honest belief that he was simply sending an affectionate thank you in response to a congratulatory message from a close friend, he chose not to contest the charge out of respect for, and solidarity with, The FA and the fight against racism in football.
‘While it is clear that context and intent are key factors, we note that the independent Regulatory Commission was required to impose a minimum three game suspension.
‘The club trusts that the independent Regulatory Commission will make it clear in its written reasons that Edinson Cavani is not a racist, nor was there any racist intent in relation to his post.’