Edinson Cavani has been backed by his Uruguay teammates after he was suspended for three games and fined $136,000 by the English Football Association for using an “improper” term on social media.
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Cavani, 33, responded to a friend on Instagram with the message ‘gracias, negrito’ after his late winning goal at Southampton in November.
The FA stated that the term was “insulting, abusive, improper and brought the game into disrepute” and added that it “included reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin.”
Manchester United have since released a statement saying that Cavani is not racist, as the Uruguayan superstar accepted the charge.
Cavani insists this was a misunderstanding and purely down to cultural differences between what the term means in some parts of Uruguay, and more widely in South America, and the UK.
Now, the Uruguayan Football Players’ Association released a statement backing Cavani, with Luis Suarez and Diego Godin both sharing the statement publicly and backing Cavani, while calling the English FA for a ‘discriminatory act’ against Uruguayan people.
“We must condemn the arbitrary conduct of the English Football Association. Far from condemning racism, the English Football Association has itself committed a discriminatory act against the culture and way of life of the Uruguayan people. Edinson Cavani has never committed any conduct that could be interpreted as racist. He merely used a common expression in Latin America to affectionately address a loved one or close friend.
“To sustain that the only way to obtain a valid interpretation in life is that which lies in the minds of managers of the English Football Association is actually a true discriminatory act, which is completely reprehensible and against Uruguayan culture. We would like to publicly defend Edinson Cavani’s impeccable character and of course our country’s culture. We are all against any kind of discrimination; however unfortunately, through its sanction, the English Football Association expressed absolute ignorance and disdain for a multi cultural vision of the world.
“The first rule to fight against racism is to respect such different ways of life and cultures. We request the FA to immediately overturn the sanction imposed on Edinson Cavani and reinstate his good name and honour in the world that has been so unfairly tarnished by the reprehensible decision.”
It is quite clear the FA will not rescind the ban, and for Luis Suarez to be involved it is dragging up a somewhat similar incident in his past.
In 2011 the former Liverpool striker was banned for eight games by the FA for allegedly using a racist slur towards Manchester United left back Patrice Evra.