Uruguayan footballers have accused the English Football Association of racism in sanctioning Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani over an Instagram post which contained the Spanish word “Negrito”, and have called for his three-match ban to be overturned.
A strong statement by the Uruguayan Football Players Association (AFU) condemned the FA’s “truly discriminatory and racist act” to hand Cavani a suspension for “merely using a common expression in Latin America to affectionately address a loved one or close friend”.
Cavani used the word in a post responding to a friend, who often goes by the nickname “negrito”. The 33-year-old Uruguay international accepted the FA’s charge out of respect for their fight against racism in football, but disagreed with the point of view that his post was offensive.
As well as being suspended for three matches, Cavani was also fined £100,000 and ordered to completed a two-hour face-to-face online education course on racism.
The AFU continued: “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 expresses absolute ignorance and disdain for a multicultural vision of the world, respectful of its plurality, by erroneously, unilaterally and rigidly imposing its anti-racist rules, the basis of which we support but are obviously not realistically applicable to the case in question here.”
Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez and the national captain Diogo Godin were among a number of high-profile Uruguayan players to share the statement on social media. In 2011, the then Liverpool striker Suarez was banned for eight games by the FA for using the same word towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in a heated exchange.
The AFU’s stand comes after a group of Uruguayan academics accused the FA of lacking "cultural and linguistic knowledge".
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