January 1 (Al Jazeera) – Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has been banned for three games by the English Football Association after using a Spanish term for Black people which he said was intended as an affectionate greeting.
Cavani has also been fined 100,000 pounds ($136,500) and ordered to complete face-to-face education after admitting to breaching the FA’s rules.
The FA said the comment was “insulting, abusive, improper and brought the game into disrepute” and also was an “aggravated breach” because it “included reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin”.
The message was posted by the Uruguayan on Instagram after he scored twice in United’s 3-2 victory at Southampton in October in the Premier League.
“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,” United said in a statement.
“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.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain player, who joined United as a free agent in October, has already issued an apology.
“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,” United said.
“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.”