The Uruguayan footballers’ union (AFU) has called on the FA to overturn the three-game ban imposed on Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani following his use of a Spanish word in a social media post in November that could be construed as racist in other languages.
Cavani used the word to thank a friend for a message of support after he scored twice off the bench in United’s 3-2 comeback win over Southampton. But the used of that particular term fell foul of the FA’s new harsher punishments for charges relating to alleged racism.
Cavani deleted the post when he was informed it could be interpreted as racist in some contexts and was backed by his club when the misconduct charge was made against him, with United '…clear that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind the message, which he deleted and apologised for, as soon as he was informed that it could have been misconstrued.'
Cavani was issued with a suspension on New Year’s Eve for the next three games, of which he has already served one. But the AFU in Uruguay wants the rest of the ban quashed and has accused the FA of ‘ignorance’ and ‘disdain’ in failing to understand the meaning and context of what was said.
A statement describes the FA’s conduct as ‘arbitrary’ and claims that banning Cavani is itself a ‘discriminatory act against the culture and way of life or the Uruguayan people.’
The AFU goes on to suggest that the FA is guilty of being ‘biased, dogmatic and ethnocentric’ in a view that ‘only allows a subjective interpretation to be made from its particular and excluding conclusion, however flawed it may be.’
It describes Cavani as having ‘impeccable character’ and having ‘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.’
Reflecting on the ban after the recent win over Aston Villa, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “One thing for sure is he’s not a racist, there was no malice. His words were taken out of context, but then he accepted it and we just want to move on.”