The English Football Association (FA) panel handed Edinson Cavani a three-match suspension despite acknowledging the Manchester United striker was not deliberately racist and had not known his language on social media was offensive.
Uruguay striker Cavani was last week banned for three games and fined 100,000 pounds (US$ 136,000) 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 full findings of the FA regulatory commission were published on Thursday, explaining why Cavani was handed a minimum suspension under FA Rule E3.1.
“The commission were satisfied that the player wrote his reply in affectionate appreciation of a message from his Uruguayan friend and that it was not designed or intended to be racist or offensive either to his friend or others reading the content of the Instagram post,” the FA commission said.
“Such a conclusion was supported by all the available evidence relevant to the circumstances in which the post was made and having regard to the character and response of the player... However, it is not sufficient that the player simply had no such intent.”
The FA argued that “a follower of English Premier League football” would have deemed the word “negrito” as racially offensive.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Uruguay Football Association, Uruguayan national team players and the Uruguayan Academy of Language have criticized England’s FA, and arguments, for banning Cavani, who joined United in October.
The judgement 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 said in a statement this week.
Cavani has already served two games of his three-match ban and will miss Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Watford.
The FA commission expressed surprise about lack of media training offered by United upon Cavani’s arrival so that he be “better placed to understand the cultural differences that might give rise to issues with a foreign player posting information on a social media platform”.