South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL has criticised the FA’s decision to suspend Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani for a social media post.
The Uruguay international used the Spanish phrase “negrito” in an Instagram story and received a three-match ban from the English FA as a result. He missed the win over Aston Villa on Friday.
A statement released on Tuesday said: “CONMEBOL expresses its solidarity with the player Edinson Cavani, sanctioned by the Football Federation of England. 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.”
The Uruguayan players’ union, however, accused the English FA of committing a “discriminatory” act by handing Cavani the ban.
“The sanction shows the English Football Association’s biased, dogmatic and ethnocentric vision that only allows a subjective interpretation to be made from its particular and excluding conclusion, however flawed it may be,” a statement read.
“It has not just punished one person, but also our whole culture, our way of life, which is truly a discriminatory and racist act.”
In the game against Southampton in November, Cavani came off the bench for United and scored a double as they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
After the game, he reposted an image from a fan to his story on Instagram, adding the caption “Gracias negrito”. The phrase loosely translates to “thanks little black boy” or “guy with black hair”.
Cavani went on to delete the Instagram post.
They fined him £100,000 and suspended him for three games.
The FA also said he had to complete face-to-face education after admitting a charge for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on Sunday November 29 2020.