Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani has been banned for three games and fined $136,000 over an Instagram post which contained a potentially offensive Spanish phrase, the English FA announced on Thursday.
Cavani, who has proven an inspired signing for Manchester United during the first half of the 2020-21 Premier League season, will miss upcoming games against Aston Villa (Premier League), Manchester City (League Cup semifinal) and Watford (FA Cup third round). All three games will be played at Old Trafford.
The 33-year-old took to the social media platform to celebrate his stoppage-time, game winning goal against Southampton in late November. In the post, the Uruguayan international re-shared a post a friend’s congratulatory post. In doing so, he used a phrase which the FA has deemed “insulting and/or abusive and/or improper.”
Shortly after sharing the post, Cavani deleted it from his feed and made the following statement.
“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.
“The last thing I wanted to do was cause offense 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 apologize for this.”
Manchester United released the following statement in which they continue to support their player while also accepting the FA’s decision as largely unavoidable.
Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism and we will continue to work with the FA — along with other governing bodies and organizations, and through our own campaigns — in that regard.
We note the FA decision today to charge Edinson Cavani for his social media reply to a friend’s message of congratulations following the Southampton game.
Edinson and the club were clear that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind the message, which he deleted and apologized for as soon as he was informed that it could have been misconstrued.