The South American Football Confederation have accused the FA of besmirching Edinson Cavani’s reputation after handing down a three-game ban for what they deemed a discriminatory social media post.
CONMEBOL said the Football Association judgement “clearly does not consider the cultural characteristics and the use of certain terms in Uruguay’s everyday speech.”
Cavani was hit with a ban, fined £100,000 and told to attend face-to-face education after admitting a charge for a breach of FA Rule E3 for his social media post after scoring against Southampton.
In it he responded to a message from a friend with the phrase “gracias negrito”, a widely used term of affection in Uruguay. Cavani had no idea the words could be interpreted as racist and once made aware he removed the offending post and apologised for causing any offence.
But the Manchester United striker was still hit with a ban after accepting the subsequent FA charge. He decided not to contest the charge out of respect for the fight against racism in football, but United felt the case should not have resulted in a charge with Cavani clearly making an honest mistake.
Since the ban was handed down the Uruguayan players’ association have hit out at the judgement and now CONMEBOL, the game’s governing body in South America, have criticised the FA decision.
“CONMEBOL expresses its solidarity with the player Edinson Cavani, sanctioned by the Football Federation of England,” a statement said.
“The disciplinary measure for the outstanding player of the Uruguayan team clearly does not consider the cultural characteristics and the use of certain terms in Uruguay’s everyday speech.
“The judgment of these types of statements, within the framework of a process that can lead to penalties for the athlete and that affect his reputation and good name, must always be carried out taking into account the context in which they were made and, above all, cultural peculiarities of each player and each country.
“CONMEBOL condemns and will always condemn with the greatest energy any racist or discriminatory manifestation, but the specific case for which Cavani was sanctioned does not constitute one of them.”
Cavani served the first game of his ban on New Year’s Day and will miss tomorrow’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City and Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Watford.