The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) joined the growing criticism of England’s FA on Tuesday with a condemnation of the three-match ban given to Uruguayan Edinson Cavani for alleged racism.
Cavani was last week banned for three games and fined 100,000 pounds for posting an Instagram message to a friend with what the FA decided to be a racist term after his Manchester United side’s 3-2 win over Southampton on Nov. 29.
The FA said the post brought the game into disrepute and ordered him to undergo “face-to-face education” as part of his punishment. The striker apologized for any misunderstanding and declined to challenge the ban.
“The disciplinary measure leveled on the Uruguayan player clearly does not take into account the cultural characteristics and use of certain terms spoken in daily life in Uruguay,” CONMEBOL said in a statement.
“Judgment of these kind of declarations... should always be made bearing in mind the context in which they were made and above all the cultural peculiarities of each player and each country.
“CONMEBOL condemns and always will condemn with the greatest energy any racism or discrimination but the specific case for which Cavani was sanctioned does not constitute one of them.”
The statement followed similar protestations by both the Uruguayan Football Association and a union of Uruguayan professional players.
The country’s Academy of Letters, an association dedicated to protecting and promoting the Spanish language used in Uruguay, also criticized the ban.