Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists there was no ‘malicious intent’ from Edinson Cavani after he sparked am FA probe by calling a friend ‘negrito’ on social media.
The Manchester United striker is now facing a minimum three-game ban if the FA decide to punish him, but Old Trafford boss Solskjaer was quick to back his man and insists he didn’t mean any harm.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of United’s game against Cavani’s old club PSG in the Champions League, Solskjaer said: ‘We have communicated with Edinson and he is really sorry for the mistakes he’s made.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (centre) has backed striker Edinson Cavani (right) amid his racism storm
Cavani apologised after replying ‘Gracias negrito’ to a friend on Instagram on Sunday night
‘No malicious intent at all, just an affectionate greeting to a friend.
‘He’s been asked by the FA to explain and we will support him. It’s one of those unfortunate situations where he’s just come into the country and in Uruguay it’s been used in a different way.
‘We support him, but we also support the FA. We want to be in the fight against discrimination. I’m sure Edinson has learned the hard way.’
Cavani was quick to issue a public apology and has since deleted the message, which sparked a racism storm in the hours after it was published, and the Uruguayan now faces an anxious wait to see if he will be in hot water with the FA.
In the post, he used the phrase ‘gracias negrito’ in response to a message of congratulations from a friend following his match-winning performance at Southampton.
Cavani said: ‘The message I posted after the game on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.
Solskjaer insisted there was no malicious intent from Cavani, who now awaits his fate by the FA
The post remained on Cavani’s Instagram account for some time before it was deleted
CAVANI AND MANCHESTER UNITED’S STATEMENTS
‘The message I posted after the match on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.
‘The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently.
‘I would like to sincerely apologise for this.’
‘It is clear to us that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind Edinson’s message and he deleted it as soon as he was informed that it could be misconstrued.
‘Edinson has issued an apology for any unintentional offence caused. Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism.’
‘The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently. I would like to sincerely apologise for this.’
Cavani could receive a minimum three-game ban if the FA decide his message was in breach of their rules after updating their guidelines on sanctions for discriminatory behaviour ahead of this season.
But the case will not be treated like an on-field incident requiring retrospective action which can see charges fast-tracked in order for a hearing to take place before a potential offender would next play.
Instead, the initial probe will involve a longer process while the FA gather evidence before deciding whether to charge Cavani.
It may not be until midweek at the earliest before the FA are in position to determine whether Cavani may have a case to answer.