The Football Association (FA) panel accepted Edinson Cavani did not mean to cause offence with a social media post which resulted in the player receiving a three-match ban.
A three-man independent regulatory commission deemed Manchester United striker Cavani should only be imposed with the minimum sanction possible for a response to praise from a friend on Instagram.
Following his decisive double in a 3-2 Premier League win at Southampton on November 29, Cavani used a Spanish word often used as a term of endearment in Latin America. He later deleted the post and apologised when it was made clear to him that the phrase could be construed as having racist connotations in English.
When the FA published the written reasons for Cavani’s punishment on Thursday, it was suggested the 33-year-old – who arrived at Old Trafford in October – should have been given media training by United.
Among the explanation for the verdict, the FA revealed: “The commission readily concluded that it was satisfied that there was no intent on the part of the player to be discriminatory or offensive in any way.
“The commission were satisfied that the player wrote his reply in affectionate appreciation of a message from his Uruguayan friend and that it was not designed or intended to be racist or offensive either to his friend or others reading the content of the Instagram post.
“Such a conclusion was supported by all the available evidence relevant to the circumstances in which the post was made and having regard to the character and response of the player.”
Cavani was fined £100,000 and ordered to attend a mandatory face-to-face education programme, as well as serving a three-game suspension.
The commission also stated: “In light of the player’s high profile in the game, his inability to speak English and the fact that he had approaching eight million Instagram followers, the commission were surprised that no such ‘training’ had been specifically put in place for the player by his club.
It did, however, acknowledge United had “taken steps to ensure that the player has a greater understanding of his responsibilities on social media”.
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